Virtual Worker / Virtual Employee

GAL Speaking Engagement: Virtual Paralegals and Legal Assistants – How To Maximize Cost Savings and Increase Client Value.

I am proud along with my partner to be presenting a webinar for the Center For Competitive Management (CCM) titled “Virtual Paralegals and Legal Assistants: How to Maximize Cost Savings & Increase Client Value”.  This should be a fascinating presentation based on our firsthand experience in employing virtual law clerks, paralegals, and lawyers over the last four years, including our very first virtual law clerk who recently joined our firm as a partner last year.  Here is the course description:

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Central Florida Paralegal Opens Virtual Assistance Company

February 2008 – ChampionsGate, FL

Paula Matthews, a central Florida paralegal with over 20 years’ experience  working with several top rated attorneys, recently started her own Virtual Assistance (VA) company, i-Administrative Services, LLC.

i-Administrative Services, LLC will be providing small law firms and sole practitioners with virtual legal assistance, specializing in, but not limited to, civil litigation, corporate law and contract review and negotiation. The goal is to provide accurate work product in a timely manner to maximize clients’ productivity and save clients’ money.

A Virtual Assistant is not a temporary employee but an independent contractor who establishes long standing business relationships with clients who do not require a full-time employee. The benefit to the client is no overhead expenses, no cost in paying benefits, taxes, workers’ compensation, sick and holiday pay.

For further information, contact:
i-Administrative Services, LLC
www.i-Administrative.com
mgr@i-Administrative.com
(863) 398-3840
(407) 997-2931


Virtual Worker Job Board For Law Firms

Every week, we receive dozens of resumes from individuals who want to be virtual law clerks, virtual lawyers, virtual paralegals and general virtual staff.  Clearly, there are a tremendous number of incredibly talented people out there who are offering their service as virtual contractors. 

The Greatest American Lawyer Blog is proud to announce that it has purchased and launched a free virtual worker / job posting board at http://virtualworkers.greatestamericanlawyer.com/.  Virtual workers can upload their resumes in order to seek employment from law firms, corporations seeking to supplement their in-house legal staff and other people and entities interested in contracted workers. 

If you are a virtual worker looking an employer match, feel free to create a profile and upload your resume here

If you are an employer who is seeking virtual workers within the legal services industry, upload your job posting here.

At Traverse Legal, we believe that virtual workers will be a significant part of the labor pool for law firms, lawyers and other companies looking for legal professionals.  To all my fellow bloggers out there, we would appreciate if you would announce and link to this new service as we continue to promote the virtual worker model as THE BEST singular alternative for law firms and in-house legal staff to solve the problem of knowing when to hire that next worker, the constant fluctuation of workloads and obtaining specialized workers within niche practice areas.


Are You a Virtual Worker Looking to Promote Your Services?

We have created two new categories for virtual worker issues.  The first category is a listing of virtual workers who have submitted their background information and websites to us.  That link can be found here

The second is a blog category which includes all of our virtual worker posts. That link is found here

If you are a virtual worker and want to get listed, go ahead and contact us.  We just purchased some job posting software which we will be implementing over the next month or two.  This will allow us to have a job board for both virtual workers and prospective employers right here on the Greatest American Lawyer Site!


Virtual Worker Recap

Since we are going to be having some upcoming posts on virtual workers, we thought we would recap our best posts on virtual workers over the last 3 ½ years.  As you know, there are tremendous benefits to incorporating a virtual worker into your law firm business model.  Here is our bullet list of favorite posts:


Introducing Virtual Paralegal Lisa Gibson

I received an email from Paralegal Lisa Gibson the other day concerning possible virtual paralegal positions.  As mentioned in this previous post, we will now be promoting any virtual worker in the legal industry who's got their own website.  If you want to be featured, simply send an email to Greatest.American @gmail.com. 

Here is the link to Lisa Gibson and Legal Office Services.

Quality Legal Services at Affordable Prices

11closeupbook1evel I am Lisa Gibson, a Paralegal since 1988. I provide Paralegal and Legal Secretarial services for attorneys and law firms from my home office in Maryland. Let me tell you a little about me. I am "Virtually" and "Traditionally" accomplished in helping attorneys and law offices. My services are done by free pick up and delivery, U.S. Mail, Express Mail, Email, Facsimile Transmissions and courier service.

In this day and age, much of the work that I do can be done “virtually.” In these changing times and for the more Internet fluent attorneys, I am also known as a “Virtual Paralegal, Virtual Legal Secretary and even a Virtual Legal Assistant.” The term “virtual” relates to a growing support system that enables me to perform most of my legal services for you “virtually”, that is-- online, via email and the Internet. Some attorneys prefer a more face-to face approach with their work being picked up and dropped off in the old fashioned way-- and that is happily done and encouraged as well!


Virtual Paralegals for Hire

As you all know, I'm a big fan of virtual workers.  Every month, we get dozens of emails and unsolicited  résumés from virtual paralegals, law clerks and even lawyers who wish to work for our firm.  There is no question that there is a ready supply of virtual workers for the legal services market. 

In an effort to help promote the benefits of virtual workers and especially virtual paralegals, we will start a new message category called "Virtual Paralegals for Hire."  If you are a virtual worker who wants the Greatest American Lawyer blog to promote you and your website, just send us an email at Greatest.American @gmail.com and we will feature you here

Virtual workers offer a tremendous advantage to law firms.  They work as independent contractors on a flex schedule.  If you don't have work for them to do, you don't have to send them work.  If you get busy all of a sudden or need a quick turnaround, you can tap into your virtual worker pool and kick things out quickly and easily.  Every law firm struggles with the question of when to hire that next staff member.  While you will certainly pay more on an hourly basis for a virtually, you will not be strapped with the overhead of office space, employee benefits, health care, and a permanent employee (by weekly paychecks).  Give it a try.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.    


What Makes a Good Worker in The Technology Age?

I previously posted about new skills required of the workforce in the technology age. I remember at my old law firm, we decided to abandon our Word Perfect/Corel Suite of applications when we got into a new computer lease. We were spending approximately $14,000 dollars in additional license fees by having both Word and Word Perfect on every computer. The commercial cases all involved word documents. Our clients were using word documents. But when it came time to tell the staff that we were switching, many of the workers rebelled. Despite the fact that we offered substantial retraining and resources to ease the transition, many of the workers were stuck in the Word Perfect mud.

Forgetting the fact that Word Perfect does offer a better "reveal codes" function, this was a relatively minor technology change in the grand scheme of things. Yet, you would have thought the world was coming to an end.

Those workers, who rebelled, would not qualify as good candidates in the technology age. A worker in today’s world must be flexible, be constantly willing to change with innovations being deployed by their company, and always be open to try new things.

At our firm, we deploy new technology and refine processes almost on a weekly basis. Our workers are the best kind of workers for the technology age. They know that there will be challenges in using and incorporating new technologies. But they are up for the task. Perhaps flexibility and open-mindedness are the most important traits for a true technology age worker


Who is GAL Talking To?

I don’t know too much about all the people that read The Greatest American Lawyer blog. I do get a lot of emails. Some of them I am able to answer. Some of them I am not. But I know from these emails that a lot of solos are reading (or they like to call our fraternity/sorority, independent practitioners). I know a lot of medium firm lawyers read as well as associates at large firms who would love nothing more than to get out. Many attorneys read for the technology tips and especially the "paperless office" implementation. I get a lot of questions which simply ask about how we bill our clients. I get comments all the time from lawyers hungry to find another way, but unsure how to implement the change.

I will try to comment more on these issues over the summer. I am settled into a billing model which is relatively simple and straightforward. It uses time as one of many factors in deriving a bill to a client. My virtual worker program is now rock solid. We will soon have over ten virtual employees performing a variety of functions from case manager on down to law clerk (no offense law clerks). Our scanning process is finally honed. Our wireless network is up. Our extranet is programmed in. Our billing process is on line from the dictation of entries to the five page cover letter which accompanies every detailed bill.

I fear I won’t be an independent practitioner for much longer. I need one or two other local attorneys to handle work, work with clients and provide the attention needed for a customer service oriented firm.

But don’t worry. I am bringing the independent practitioner process forward and building relationships with other attorneys. A relationship will certainly not be a standard partnership. I haven’t quite got it square in my head yet. But I’ll let you know when it pops in there.


The Flattening of the Legal World

What I really see going on around me. What is really becoming clear. What almost seems tangible.

By applying the virtual worker/independent contractor model in legal services, we are doing nothing more than is already going on in the world around us. In many ways, law seems a natural market in which to use technology as a force of change. The fundamental philosophy shift in play here is from an extremely patriarchal and geographically centered base to one where efficiency and raw talent are the only two tests. Conservative nature of law and lawyers would cause one to think that the law would be one of the last places to innovate with technology.

Why not the law? The legal market is ripe for change from both internal and external forces. The thought that everyone hates lawyers, even other lawyers, is one indicator. The reality that many people view lawyers right there with used car salesman. The grin that many people get on their faces when taking the legal profession to task, really says something.

Watch and see what happens. The technology revolution is coming to the law office near you. Business models will evolve quickly and the billable hour will become an ugly word which people don’t want to speak. The force for change will surprisingly not come from the top as much as it will come from the bottom. Great lawyers will give up all the fallacies of partnership, gain complete economy over their talents, ethics and business principles. The physical, cultural, financial and general business culture of the big firm will drive talent away and that talent will realize that they do not need the trappings of a large firm to make a great living changing the way law is practiced. You wait and see. It is starting to happen all around you. I’ve got a dollar in my pocket that says it is so.