From time to time, I write about the use of virtual administrative services. Jared Correia and I recently spewed out a podcast about that exact topic. Jared and I tend to have fun doing these things because we both are (read: think we are) hilarious.
The post below is from Amy Thomson, the Producer of the Legal Talk Network (i.e., no, I am not starting to write posts in the third person). Enjoy.
Chad Burton, founder of the virtual-law-firm Burton Law, was recently invited to be a guest on The Legal Toolkit. Host Jared Correia was interested to hear more about Burton’s work with the virtual services he employs in his law firm. Burton finds them to be economical, easy, and effective. The Legal Toolkit is a Legal Talk Network program which invites experienced and forward-thinking lawyers to share a certain service, idea, or program, that they use in their practice, with their peers. Burton has found that going virtual has allowed him to better serve his clients with the best possible service and the lowest possible prices.
Listen here: Virtual Staffing: Implementation and Management
Burton Law uses virtual staffing to manage its phones, accounting, online documents, and secure delivery of email services. “What happens when you jump into this virtual staff world,” he explains, “is you are creating a different relationship with those you are working with.” You can pay by the hour, for example, allowing you to scale the work down to exactly what you need.
“It makes sense from a financial perspective,” Correia says, “how about from a workflow perspective?” Burton had a myriad of ways to maintain workflow with virtual staff. Video conferencing is a good way to keep all team members, on-site and virtual, connected. Especially when a process or aspect of the company changes, it’s good to schedule a conference. A screen share is an easy way to demonstrate new programs or tasks. “We also get together in person,” Burton says, “Just because we have this virtual label, [getting together] is still incredibly important.” These meetings don’t have to be formal. Burton Law has a package of tickets to the Dayton Dragons baseball games. This is a fun, informal way to get the virtual office together.
“There are a lot of creative ways to do it,” Burton says, “To still create the collaborative environment and a culture that is productive, even though it’s a ‘virtual arrangement.’”
The host wrapped up the interview with a more general question: “What would you say to those attorneys and law firms who see some of the advantages of virtualization, but they’re just not quite ready to take the next step?” he asks. Burton recommends to start by doing a general overview of your practice and start looking for the challenges. Burton’s initial issue was bringing all the paperwork he needed on vacation with his family. He looked into cloud based solutions, and found something that allowed him to be more mobile, with less paper, and address the challenge. “You think, look if I could change this, what would I do?” Burton says, “and then you find what’s out there.” Start doing the research because chances are there is a solution to the problem. When you turn your practice into your best practice, your clients will notice. “You don’t have to become a ‘virtual practice.’” Burton says, “but if that makes it easier on you, you’ll be able to serve your clients better.”