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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lawsuit Survival Guide: A Client’s Companion to Litigation

When you have a legal problem, you need legal information. Lawyers, of course, are prime sources of this information, but if you bought all the needed information at their rates — $150 to $450 an hour — you’d quickly empty your bank account. Fortunately, many lawyers will work with you to help you acquire a good working knowledge of the legal principles and procedures you need to deal with your problem at least partly on your own.

If you are hoping to represent yourself and use a lawyer only for advice, make sure the lawyer is open to that type of set-up. Likewise, if you’re going into business and will draft your own bylaws or business agreements, ask the lawyer if she’s open to reviewing your drafts and making comments. Virtual law practice is revolutionizing the way the public receives legal services and how legal professionals work with clients. Stephanie Kimbro’s practical guide teaches lawyers how to set up and run a virtual law firm. It provides case studies of individual

Further Resources

For more tips on choosing and working with a lawyer, see the eBook The Lawsuit Survival Guide: A Client’s Companion to Litigation, by Joseph Matthews (Nolo). 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Building the 21st-Century Law Firm envisions how to start and manage a legal practice using the latest technology and tactics.

Clients don’t want to have to struggle to find the right lawyer or fight to work with the right lawyer. Get insights into Building the 21st-Century Law Firm envisions how to start and manage a legal practice using the latest technology and tactics. Click here Legal Services – OlayinkaOyelamiCorporation (OOCORP)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Virtual Law Practice is Revolutionizing Delivery of Legal Services, Lowering Costs as Well as Evening The Playing Field For Legal Services Online That Brings Law Practice Up to Speed With The 21st Century Legal MarketPlace

Virtual Law Practice or Virtual Law Office, is an online law practice that exists through a secure log-in portal and can be accessed by both clients and attorneys anywhere an internet connection is available. In contrast to a traditional law practice, a Virtual Law Practice allows attorneys and clients to communicate securely over the internet, download or upload documents, and conduct other business normally conducted face-to-face over the internet.

A virtual law firm is a legal practice that does not have a bricks-and-mortar office, but operates from the homes or satellite offices of its lawyers, usually delivering services to clients at a distance using technological means of communication. Most have a central function responsible for the accounting and administrative side of the practice. Virtual law firms are formed and regulated in the same way as traditional law firms, but their lawyers may be self-employed consultants rather than partners or employees.

In a profession know historically resistant to change. The concept of a virtual law firm sounds mystical or fake, the idea of altering the way business is done can be difficult for some Orthodox Lawyers to swallow. Peeling away the layers, however, reveals that there is nothing Mythical or Fake about a virtual law firm. It is simply a fancy way of labeling two or more lawyers who collaborate and recognize that innovation should play a role in serving clients. If client expectations change, law firm models should follow. Virtual Law Practices have emerged in various iterations, each of which is driven by the practice’s client base. The models range from solo practitioners delivering services online to large firms operating outside a traditional bricks-and-mortar setting. The concepts are limited only by the creativity of those involved.

The main benefit of a virtual law office to the client is convenience and accessibility to the lawyer. The unbundled legal services of a Virtual Law Office can also save clients a considerable amount of money by allowing them to handle much of the work surrounding their legal consultation themselves, with an attorney guiding them and drafting paperwork (known as “unbundling”) In turn, an attorney running a Virtual Law Office will have more flexible work hours and be able to serve a much larger client base over the internet. They will also save significant overhead related to running a practice (such as office rent, paper, and assisting staff). With the rapid expansion of technology and internet use, lawyers who are able to bend their practice to serve this client base may find themselves more successful.

According to earlier sources, a virtual law firm has the following characteristics:

Has a stable core group of attorneys;
Operates under one legal entity, such as a partnership or a proprietorship.
Has established collaborative relationships with other, specialized law firms that possess expertise that’s occasionally needed;
Is glued together with appropriate computer and telecommunications technology such as project management software or a Virtual Law Office (VLO)
Tends to have low overhead because of the ability of some or all attorneys to work from home or a low cost remote office.
Expands and reduces personnel as needed.

Virtual firms can be full service and handle the entire range of existing practice areas, from estate planning to criminal defense to business matters such as mergers and acquisitions and complex litigation. From the client’s perspective, the work product completed does not look different than that produced by a traditional firm. It is how the firm operates in the background that differs. This is where setting up the right structure and team is crucial.

Multi-lawyer firms can now practice in a distributed manner. The firms have centralized meeting space for attorney or client meetings, but the lawyers practice from home or in other locations that make the most sense to each lawyer. Virtual assistants are used for administrative support. Cloud-based practice management systems enable the lawyers to collaborate on cases and to have all information related to the matter at their fingertips—whether they are at a home office or traveling on the other side of the world.

The advent of technology used in virtual law firms such as project management software, Virtual Law Offices and cloud computing have made it far easier for legal practices to save and manage data across geographic locations securely and efficiently and to communicate with clients at a distance, so that proximity to the client, or of the lawyers to each other in an office, has become far less important.

The virtual law firm has also come to be associated with lower prices, as they generally operate with lower overheads than traditional law firms. Lawyers find they can bill fewer hours but still make more money via a virtual firm because of the lower overheads.

e-Lawyering and the Virtual Law Office

The first recorded virtual law firm was "Woolley & Co" set up in 1996 in England by Andrew Woolley. The term became more clearly defined in 2004 in an article written by Joe Kashi defining exactly what it meant to be a virtual law firm. Virtual law firms are also often referred to as “cloud-based law firms”. The concept has since spread globally and is finding favour with clients seeking higher quality service, value, and mobility.

More recently, the concept of the virtual law firm has been associated with the term, "e-Lawyering" referring to a law firm that delivers legal services online, either directly to consumers through their law firm websites or through legal matching platforms. The American Bar Association has released a statement on minimum requirements for law firms delivering legal service online. The guidelines equate the concept of "e-Lawyering" with the Virtual Practice of Law and the concept of the virtual law firm. According to the American Bar Association guidelines, e-Lawyering or Virtual Law Practice refers specifically to the delivery of legal services online through a section of a law firm's website that is a known as a secure "client portal." Under this definition, a "Virtual Law Firm" is not simply a lawyer who does not have a physical office and communicates with clients by email. Instead, the law firm must have a secure section of its website where a client can log in with a unique user name and password.

The purpose of the e-Lawyering Task Force minimum requirements is to provide guidance to attorneys who wish to deliver legal services online on how to comply with the professional rules of conduct that govern law practice in each U.S. state. Conducting business through a log-in portal is different from conducting business over email, as the log-in portal is required to be secure and must adhere to strict regulations and standards. A completely virtual law office will conduct all business online, while some small practices choose to integrate a Virtual Law Office log-in portal to provide more options to their clients.

The features offered by a Virtual Law Office depend on the particular vendor, but basic features centre around a securely hosted, web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that stores documents as part of a cloud computing system. By storing documents and information on an external server and allowing log-in through a secure, encrypted portal, documents can be accessed and shared by client and attorney.  A Virtual Law Office allows clients and their attorneys to message and communicate securely, schedule appointments online, and upload and download documents. Attorneys running a Virtual Law Office can also sync their firm’s calendars, sell documents online, and use a “virtual receptionist” service to handle administrative tasks. Attorneys also save on paper and printing costs by providing documents online, and both parties can access the Virtual Law Office portal at any time of day.   

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With over 500 do-it-yourself legal products, the largest library of online consumer-friendly legal products including: power of attorney, wills, living trusts, leases, promissory notes, and America’s #1 bestselling estate planning software Quicken Will-Maker Plus. Our vision is simple, yet powerful to give our customers smarter ways to work by providing unrivaled legal solutions that integrate content, expertise and technologies.  We've built a portfolio of products that span practice and management for litigators, corporate counsel, business lawyers, government legal professionals and small law firm attorneys – legal solutions built to help our customers thrive. Get more insights here 

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Monday, November 14, 2016

What is The Biggest Reason While Law Firms Fails ?

Every single year  law firms close up offices and send lawyers scrambling in search of new jobs. As you navigates the trials and tribulations of the industry, get insights into the common reasons why law firms failed  so you can protect yourself against falling victim to this reality. Fighting Between Partners Good lawyers are tough fighters with strong opinions. That is what makes them good at what they do. However, when those lawyers start fighting among themselves while trying to run a law firm, the law firm will likely fail. If your firm’s owners are fighting, you must use your mediation skills to come to an agreement Too Many Partners, Not Enough Associates Too many heads and not enough feet can lead to the death of a law firm. There are some law firms where up to two-thirds of the lawyers are partners! This does not work well. It’s very unlikely that all of these partners are contributing to the company’s bottom line. Everyone needs to be productive and carry their weight, whether they are new associates or senior partners. Failure to Focus on Clients The most important person in your law firm is not you, your partner, or your lead lawyer. It’s your client. If your law firm is all about you and your partners, then your clients are going to start looking for services elsewhere. Put your clients’ needs first, and watch as your reputation and client base improve. Internal Orientation A law firm will struggle if it focuses too much on inner workings and neglects client services. Your procedures and policies will not matter if you have no clients. Point your focus outward and build a strong client base. Refusal to Learn Law school represents a sizeable investment of time and energy. Yet when it’s over, lawyers aren’t done learning. You must take the time to stay current on changes in the law, up-and-coming strategies to win cases, and new management or marketing skills. Leaders in the firm must spearhead the effort and encourage continued growth and development through training, seminars, and other educational opportunities. Hiring Without a Strategy Do you bring enough new associates onboard, and do you hire them with a clear vision of the future? When you hire, exercise due diligence to ensure the new hire fits a specific, long-term need for your firm. As many law firms move forward, they fail to groom successors. When partners are ready to retire, their hard work goes up in smoke when they pass on their firm to a managing partner with no leadership skills. To ensure your firm’s longevity, hire and promote with future leadership in mind. Lack of Focus What is your primary focus? Is it chasing the next big source of revenue? Is it finding a specialty and growing as an expert in the field? If your law firm is constantly switching directions and choosing a new focus or practice area, you will confuse your clients. Instead, take the time to build a consistent practice. Your clients will come to trust your expertise and recognize your unique abilities. Clients “Owned” By Partners If partners work independently of each other with major clients, you run the risk of losing significant income if a partner leaves the firm and takes the clients they “own” with them. To limit this risk, use a team of lawyers for each client. If one chooses to leave, they will be less likely to take the client with them. No Experiments While focus is important, so is experimentation. While your firm develops its primary niche, try some new things. You may discover a new strategy or niche area of practice that is a big revenue generator. No Growth Budget Smart law firms are always planning financially for growth. As your firm delves into a few experiments, you will need funding. Sometimes, these experiments will fail, sometimes they will be even more successful than you had hoped. It’s important to budget for the cost of growing pains Failure to Adapt and Change Law firms that fail to change with the times are going to struggle and probably fail. No firm can last for decades without adapting to the needs of clients, technological advances, and changes in the practice of law. Stay on the forefront of these changes and keep your law firm up to speed in order to succeed. Reliance on a Single Industry or a Small Number of Clients Variety is essential to succeeding as a law firm. While it’s important to focus on a few specialty areas of practice, be sure to choose a niche that has enough clients and demands to support the firm. You may also consider if you need to expand your offerings to include multiple industries to gain a larger number of clients. Don’t depend on one stream of revenue or one small group of clients The Biggest Reason Law Firms Fail: Ineffective Leadership A look at most of these issues points to one overriding problem: a lack of effective leadership. Law firms close every year, and ineffective leadership is typically at the heart of the problem. If you want your law firm to stand the test of time, be willing to make the tough decisions and build a strong leadership team. That, alone, could mean the difference between success and failure in a world where longevity is threatened.