If you’re a solo lawyer or small firm, you might be wondering how to cut costs. You’ve heard about virtual assistants and paralegals and wonder if they could work in your law practice. Here’s the deal—they can save you money by doing the research and administrative tasks that take up most of your time. But it’s not just about saving money. It’s also about improving efficiency and quality of service for clients.
What is a legal assistant?
A legal assistant (or paralegal) is someone who supports lawyers by doing some of the work that they would otherwise have to do themselves. They can help with research, document review, and even legal drafting–all tasks that would normally be performed by a lawyer.
- Research: Legal assistants help lawyers find information about cases or statutes through databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw. This can include searching for court decisions on similar cases or statutes in other states or countries; it also includes looking up specific facts about individual parties involved in litigation (such as their addresses).
- Document Review: When reviewing documents like contracts or wills before they go into court, legal assistants make sure that all parties have signed appropriately and follow any other requirements set out in law (such as having two witnesses sign off on the will). In addition to checking signatures against signatures already present on file at a company’s headquarters office location(s), this sometimes requires checking whether certain terms exist within agreements themselves–for example: “The Buyer shall not transfer ownership rights without prior written consent from Seller.” If there wasn’t explicit mention made regarding something like this beforehand then one party could end up losing money because they didn’t know what was expected beforehand!
Legal Assistant vs. Paralegal
The qualifications for legal assistants and paralegals are not the same. A legal assistant has a more advanced education and training than a paralegal, and they have been certified by their state to perform certain tasks. For example, while a paralegal may be able to draft contracts or prepare documents for court filings, they would not be allowed to represent clients in court without being licensed as an attorney (which requires additional studies).
A good way to understand this difference is by looking at what responsibilities each position has:
- Conduct interviews and maintaining contact with clients
- Legal research
- Document drafting
- Attending legal proceedings
- Billing clients
- Locating and interviewing witnesses
- The process of collecting and sorting legal documents and evidence for the lawyer to review
- Drafting and proofreading documents to save the lawyer’s time
- General admin support such as maintaining their calendar
- Organizing and maintaining documents on paper or in a cloud-based environment
- Communicating with clients to schedule interviews, depositions and meetings
Why use a virtual legal assistant?
So, what is a virtual legal assistant? A virtual assistant is an experienced professional who can help you save time and money by doing tasks that you don’t have the time to do yourself. Virtual assistants are trained in law office management; they know how to do everything from answering questions about your practice area to drafting agreements for clients.
They also make your life easier because they’re available 24/7–so if you need help with something at 2 AM on Saturday night, there’s always someone there for you! And since virtual assistants work remotely from their homes (or wherever else), they’re not taking up any space in your office building–which means more room for YOU!
How much does a virtual legal assistant cost?
The cost of a virtual assistant depends on the type of work being done and the hourly rate of your legal assistant. The average hourly rates range from $25 to $100 per hour, but this can vary depending on the experience level and skill set of your VA. Some VAs charge by the project, while others offer a flat fee for all services provided during that project (e.g., if you pay $500 up front for all tasks needed to complete your case).
Benefits of using cloud-based software
Cloud-based law firm management systems make it easier to manage your legal team. Cloud-based systems allow you to work from anywhere, so you can get more done in less time and avoid distractions. The cloud also allows you to track your team’s hours and productivity, which will help you identify areas for improvement if there are any problems with your staff members’ performance.
Finally, cloud-based systems such as Runsensible allow users like yourself to keep track of all their cases in one place without having to worry about losing important documents or tasks falling through the cracks when they should be completed by a certain deadline date.
If you have multiple VA’s, Runsensible’s “Tasks” tab allows you to easily determine what you expect from each assistant.
What are the benefits of hiring an attorney over an in-house team?
The benefits of hiring an attorney over an in-house team include:
- You can hire one attorney or many. Whether you need to hire one lawyer or a team of them, there’s no shortage of attorneys available for the job. Depending on your needs and budget, this can be very helpful when it comes time to decide who should represent you during legal proceedings.
- You can hire a legal assistant or paralegal instead of having someone from within your company handle matters on their own–or worse yet–without any guidance at all! While some companies might not see any harm in letting employees handle simple cases themselves (after all, they know more than anyone else), this isn’t always true; many times there are mistakes that could’ve been avoided if only someone else had been involved in making sure everything went smoothly.”
What can Legal Assistants help you with?
In today’s legal landscape, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right tools to get the job done. If you haven’t considered using a legal assistant, you should.
Legal assistants can help attorneys with a variety of tasks like:
- Time management and billing
- Client communication (email, phone calls)
- Data entry and document creation/management
- Researching information online or in libraries/courts/etc…
These are just some examples–there are many more ways that legal assistants can save their employers time. In fact, one study found that when firms use paralegals or other support staff members instead of attorneys for tasks such as document review and correspondence writing (which require specialized knowledge), they tend to see an increase in productivity by as much as 30%. If you want to read more about “how to become a legal assistant”, you should check out this article from Spherion.
We hope this post has given you some insight into the benefits of using a virtual legal assistant. If you’re still unsure, consider contacting us and we can help answer any questions. We know that hiring an attorney can be expensive, but if you’re willing to invest in your business then it’s worth considering hiring one or two assistants who can free up time for other tasks while making sure everything is handled correctly from start-to-finish!