According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Outsourcing Survey, out of the 40 interviewed executives across their clients, service providers and lawyers globally, 70% of the surveyed executives said outsourcing was used as a cost-cutting tool, with “the uncertain economic environment switching the focus back to the numbers”, another 40% said outsourcing provided the organisational flexibility to deal with the changes felt by the pandemic; remote work and fast-paced digitalization.
With more and more industries outsourcing services to third-party providers because of its leveraging benefits, there’s also an inclination in the number of law firms and lawyers hiring virtual legal assistants (VLAs) to perform their tasks or services.
What is a Virtual Legal Assistant? Let’s Get Started!
Virtual Legal Assistants (VLAs) are experts who help legal practitioners in performing administrative and personal tasks. They can work from anywhere in the world, thus bypassing the geographical restrictions altogether. Also, VLAs can be hired on a part-time, full-time, or ad-hoc basis, depending on the requirements of a business, and do not require office spaces, devices or tools.
Apart from focusing on cases and providing legal advices, there are a lot of non-essential tasks, such as meetings, calls, presentations, managing calendars, etc., that legal practitioners have to take care of, which becomes extremely overwhelming for them when handling multiple clients. That is when outsourcing legal support services can assist them in streamlining their work effortlessly and effectively.
As there’s a lot of law-based tasks involved, VLAs must posses some basic knowledge about the legal profession. However, legal assistant tasks do not provide legal remedies.
Related Reading: How You Can Get Value-Added Legal Process Outsourcing Services
What Tasks Can Paralegal Experts Do For You?
1. Preparing Presentations
Presentations with a perfect amalgamation of content, graphics, and other visuals prove effective and help you grab the attention of court personnel, jury members, or prospective clients. Your VLA can assist you in creating a powerful PowerPoint presentation that perfectly conveys your message or sums up the evidence for your arguments in your trials.
2. Legal Research & Writing
In every legal procedure, legal research and content are vital aspects and main reasons behind any lawyer’s success. However, this is a manual process and very time-consuming as a lot of investigation is involved. One of the many legal assistant duties and responsibilities is to assist in conducting this research and decreasing your workload.
3. Legal Bookkeeping & Accounting
As legal practitioners are under heavy work pressure, bookkeeping and accounting can be difficult as these tasks are complex and require expertise. In such a situation, VLAs who already possess this set of skills can manage these non-core tasks efficiently.
4. Calendar Management
Legal practitioners have several client inquiries to address, calls to attend, and emails to sort, along with client meetings, interviewing witnesses, and proceedings. However, it’s really tough for them to take care of everything. The virtual legal assistant comes in to rescue law firms here too. They will address all the inquires, sort through your emails, and make sure to inform you about all the queries and additional updates, including a well-maintained calendar.
5. Managing Business Trips
To attend trials, business proposals, meet clients and witnesses who are incapable of commuting, there is lots of traveling involved for lawyers. However, legal practitioners cannot afford wasting their time on booking flights, cabs, and hotels. Instead, they can invest their time in research and case studies and leave this responsibility to their virtual legal assistant.
6. Social Media Management
As lawyers or law firms, it is essential to maintain a strong profile across social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, as it helps to enhance their market. The VLA maintains your profile, posts regularly, and also interact with users to increase engagement and promote you extensively. If you are a new firm and want to leverage the power of social media, hire a VLA right away.
7. Managing The Website
Almost all lawyers or law firms have a website today as it helps in marketing, building trust & credibility, and spreading awareness amongst people about you and your services. Legal assistant skills and abilities may involve website management too. Hence, a VLA can also be made responsible for updating and maintaining the website regularly and generating keyword-rich content to rank your website on the top of the search engine. They also ensure that the website is mobile-compatible as 54.8 percent of global website traffic is generated from mobile devices alone.
8. Organize Your Schedules
The paralegal experts have to manage and remind you of your schedules and ensure that you do not miss any meetings, deadlines, and appointments. This way, the VLA keeps a tab on all your activities and makes modifications whenever required.
9. YouTube Videos
YouTube content grabs a lot of attention and is one of the most popular social media platforms. Law firms and lawyers can utilize it to promote themselves. They can capture videos of them talking about law topics, legal tips, and successful cases, etc., and handover them to their VLA, who can then edit these videos and make them visually appealing. The VLA can also research those topics and write video scripts for you.
10. Handle Invoices And Billing
Preparing invoices and sending billing documents to clients is one of the additional legal assistant tasks. Your VLA can deal with the paperwork involving billing and collection for you or your law firm while you focus on the core operations.
11. Draft And Review Contracts
Lawyers need to create contracts and review them accurately so that there aren't any chances of dispute later on. Instead of carrying this additional task on your shoulders, your virtual legal assistant can aid you in drafting contracts with the information shared by you and make sure that the documents are well-reviewed.
12. Accurate Transcription Work
From recording proceedings, interviews with clients, witnesses, and others, lawyers need to transcribe audio recordings to text occasionally. The transcribing process is, however, very time-consuming. A one-hour clear audio recording with just one speaker takes approximately four hours to transcribe. If the audio quality is poor and there are many speakers, the transcribing process can take up to 8 hours.
As the transcription process needs accuracy, and the TAT is restricted sometimes, a VLA with a comprehensive understanding of legal terminologies can take care of this task.
13. Organize Documents
One of the many skills of a legal assistant is the credibility to manage all the legal files & documents. Lawyers or law firms just can't afford to lose or misplace any document, as it can be a vital piece of evidence for any of their cases. The VLA ensures that the files and documents are diligently organized and accessible via any device.
14. Pre-Trial Preparations
Outsource document review services and let these experts assist you in preparing for trial, which also includes drafting contracts and reviewing them, obtaining legal documents, writing reports, and other contractual statements.
15. Email Management
Wouldn’t it be much sorted if you have someone who could sort your emails, address general inquires, and notify you of urgent messages regularly? The virtual legal expert can do all this for you!
Benefits of Hiring A Virtual Legal Assistant
As Garry Kasparov rightly quoted, “At the end of the day, it’s all about money”. Outsourcing reduces costs, and it is one of the top-most reasons behind many white-collared firms hiring virtual legal assistants instead of employing an extra member for their legal team or firm. It helps them to avoid expenses on office space, hiring and training processes, etc. Also, they can simply hire these well-versed professionals on an hourly basis and get their non-core legal activities done effectively.
2. Enhanced efficiency
Outsource legal assistant services & solutions, and an increase in efficiency and productivity is guaranteed. As the VLA would be taking care of all your administrative tasks, you and your team members will have enough time to invest in the core aspects of your case and serve clients better, which eventually amps up your potency and performance.
3. High-quality customer experience
The virtual paralegal experts are always on their toes to address calls or inquiries of the clients, effectively manage the administrative tasks, and ensure to deliver everything on time. It ends up offering a high-quality experience for your clients.
4. Saves time
Non-core tasks like drafting contracts, checking thousands of emails every day, managing business trips, maintaining social media, etc., involves a lot of time. Hiring a virtual legal assistant will help lawyers save time and utilize it better.
As mentioned earlier, you do not have to hire a VLA permanently. Based on your requirements or projects, VLAs can be hired on an hourly basis as well. The increased work demand would not be affected as you can easily scale up and down depending on the workload.
Virtual legal administrative assistant skills can prove worthy for lawyers hiring them. With their help, lawyers and law firms can boost their businesses, enhance their efficiency and productivity, easily meet last-minute deadlines, have access to specialised tools, and most importantly, live a much more comfortable life. Additionally, outsourcing comes with its own additional benefits, like round the clock availability, zero over heads, free trials, massive cost savings, and much more.
So, if you're still comprehending outsourcing legal support services, you better hire the right third-party firm and reap great benefits!
As per a case study providing insight into outsourcing, David Wynee, the Managing Director Attorney at Wynne Law Firms, said he required a paralegal to work at night. He used to send over assignments during a work day and the same would be completed and returned to him via email the next morning. When asked about his views on offshoring to India, Mr. Wynee said he was looking for an opportunity to have an offshore location. Also, many things attracted him to India - such as stability and English-speaking resources. He found Virtual Employee to be the top outsourcing company in India and he did not have any concerns. Overall, he found VE to be trustworthy and pleasant and the employees were extremely hard-working. Moreover, he got great results, increased productivity and reduced costs.