Top 5 Reasons to Set Up a Virtual Law Firm

Establishing oneself in today’s competitive law landscape can be quite the challenge for today’s lawyer. For many, joining existing and well established law firms is the way to go. However, there are a growing number of more entrepreneurial spirited lawyers who opt for blazing a new trail and making their own mark in the business.
 
Research shows that a lawyer’s primary challenge when setting up their own law practice is how to keep the overhead costs to a minimum. Many resort to working at home when not meeting with a client or being at court hearings. Though a home address provides flexibility and convenience it does not help much in creating a lawyer’s credibility and professional image. And obtaining that professional image the traditional way can come at a steep price.
 
Setting up an actual physical office, located in a strategic business location, fully equipped with working and meeting facilities as well as hiring staff to run and maintain the said office requires financial resources that many lawyers simply do not have. As a result, many solo lawyers continue to look for more creative and non-traditional means around this roadblock. Fortunately, many of them are discovering the solution lies in using a virtual office.
 
Today’s lawyers can get around having to spend for all these costs by using a virtual office. There are several virtual office providers today that offer traditional office services on a shared basis at a fraction of the cost of setting up one’s own office.
 
There are even some virtual office providers that cater to the specific needs of lawyers.  Top 5 Reasons to Set Up a Virtual Law Firm are:
 
1. Prestigious Business Address for Your Law Firm
Sometimes, all it takes is something as simple as a prestigious address written on your business card to automatically boost your law firm’s image and credibility. The business address that you get from a virtual office alone can earn you the added client confidence that leads to more business.
 
2. Mail Handling and Instant Notification System
Every lawyer knows how critical it is that legal communications and notices are received and responded to on time. There is nothing worse than losing a case on a technicality like a missed deadline. Most virtual offices offer mail handling services for critical correspondence and important legal documents. Usually bundled with this are immediate notification systems that inform lawyers whenever mail is received. Some virtual offices will even provide courier support to help you send and transmit documents to courts, clients and other relevant parties, which could eliminate the need for a lawyer to hire a full time messenger or runner.
 
3. Professional Reception and Phone Line Services
We all know that missing a call or message can be just as bad as missing a legal notice.  Virtual offices allow lawyers to be accessible wherever they are through professional reception and phone line services.  Lawyers get a unique telephone number paired with a trained receptionist answering your calls in your law office’s name.  Calls or messages can then be forwarded to you.  So apart from being sure that you don’t miss those important calls, a receptionist service also enhances your image and credibility.
 
4. Pay as you Use Business Facilities
While operating from home may have it's advantages, meeting with clients there may not be an option.  Many virtual offices provide professional and secure work facilities including desks, meeting rooms, conference call facilities and other office equipment that can be paid for only when used.  The benefit here is obvious: your law firm can utilize all this without the cost of having to purchase them.  Some virtual offices charge as low as PhP500 a day for a work station or under PhP1,000 an hour for use of conference rooms, both typically bundled with high speed internet.
 
5. Digital Legal Filing and Management System
The proper filing and storage of client files and other legal documents (some of which could be years or even decades old) is critical to any lawyer.  Some virtual offices provide scanning, indexing and cloud based storage solutions for all these documents.  This allows easy and instant access to them wherever one is.  Using these systems, virtual lawyers could literally have all their important legal files at their finger tips.  Cloud based storage also provides additional benefits such as business continuity and client retention in that these files are stored securely (backed up) in their digital versions.
 
While setting up your own physical law office can cost one upwards of a few hundred thousand pesos, we’ve seen virtual office companies in the Philippines offering most of the above services for as low as PhP3,000 a month.  This alone is compelling enough for start up, solo, or even established law practitioners, to explore the virtual law practice.