Rethinking the Meaning of Quality Representation
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Virtual Paralegals and Law Clerks as a Recruiting Tool

I remember those days as a summer associate at silk stocking law firms doing research memos for lower level associates who are working on matters for mid-level associates who are working on matters for low-level partners who are working for clients brought in by high-level partners. I remember being taken to lunch at fancy restaurants and summer associate parties on the rooftop bar across the street from the skyscraper in which I worked. Yes indeed, those were fun days.

However, in retrospect I wonder how valuable the experience was for the firm as a recruiting mechanism. Sure, I had gone through rounds of interviews and the firm decided they liked me so much that they brought me on to their summer associate role. However, any attorney who thinks they can gauge an associate or a law clerk by an interview is fooling himself or herself. When it comes to legal practice, the proof is in the pudding. There are excessively many variables to measure in an interview. In addition, I am here to tell you that a high grade point average provides limited indication of true success as an attorney.

One of the great things about hiring virtual law clerks is that you can increase the number of law clerks you can evaluate. Virtual workers live and die by their work product. Since they are not employees of the firm, they simply do not get new assignments if they do not do good work. The law firm who uses virtual law clerks (and paralegals) has a tremendous opportunity to cozy up to the work product of that virtual employee. I have already hired one virtual emloyee as a full-time summer law clerk. I did so based on work ethic and work product, which I was able to see day to day as a result of my virtual worker program. This law clerk does not live anywhere near the city in which I work. I would have had no opportunity to evaluate that virtual employees without the virtual worker program. I see tremendous potential in the virtual worker program for law firms, law clerks, paralegals and even virtual lawyers. One of those advantages is the ability for each party to evaluate the other from afar.

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