Digital Assistants Can Provide Valuable Legal Support Services to Law Firms

Every single business should be interested in lowering expenses and increasing productivity and income. Right? Right. A virtual assistant is the answer.

Over the last two years law firms cut costs by laying off support staff members. The firms did so to reduce costs as a result of an economic downturn or gradual and declining business that resulted in decreased revenue.

Earlier this month an article in The American Lawyer documented that the law firm Mayer Brown cut 135 employees – lawyers plus staff, and, some time later, a write-up in the New York Law Journal documented that the firm laid off 75 workers, including 28 lawyers. (source associated with articles: Law. com) Mayer Brown has seen a reduction in staff because of cuts and layoffs of 210 employees this month. Lawshucks. possuindo tracks law firm layoffs and signifies on its website that since April 8, 2010, 14, 696 jobs were eliminated at major law firms (5, 772 lawyers or 8, 924 staff) since The month of january 2008. This data shows an increased percentage of staff layoffs (~61%) compared to that of attorney layoffs : 39%. Lawshucks. com further signifies that there have been 485 layoffs this year (186 attorneys/299 staff); this amount also represents a higher percentage associated with staff layoffs (62%) compared to lawyer layoffs of 38%. A drop in revenue and a slow recuperation have prompted law firms to eliminate attorney and staff/support services positions.

Law firms can get the support services they need by engaging the services of a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant (also referred to as the VA) is a highly skilled entrepreneur that typically works from his/her work from home business providing business and/or legal assistance services through the effective use of technologies.

The advent of the Internet and the limitless progression and availability of technology allow VAs to collaborate remotely along with clients from virtually anywhere in the world. VAs have been providing support services to businesses for many years. The phrase virtual assistant came into being in the ’90s, and the VETERANS ADMINISTRATION industry has seen increased development. Support and networking organizations such as The International Virtual Assistants Association supply assistance and support to VAs worldwide. VAs provide valuable solutions worldwide to businesses of all sorts.
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Services Offered by a VA

Typically, VAs provided secretarial and administrative services; however , today VAs provide a wealth of services that include, but are not limited to, the following types of services:

legal secretarial;
word processing/document management;
paralegal support;
tape transcription;
study and writing;
travel / meeting arrangements;
marketing communications support;
desktop publishing;
website design;
content management – web site, blog, wiki;
database management;
computer/technical support;
event management; and
human resource management.
Within this economic downtown, a VA could be a vital part of any business. Along with law firms cutting costs and getting rid of support services personnel, it makes sense for a law firm (or an attorney) to hire a qualified VA for its assistance needs or as an extension of its business. Any legal entity or even legal professional considering using the services of the VA will likely want to consider a single with a legal background.

The services that the VA can perform and provide are endless. Lawyers looking to start their own practices will find the services of a VA indispensable.

Advantages of Utilizing a VA

Wondering whatever you gain by utilizing a VA? The advantages are plenty. Imagine eliminating:

costs associated with hiring a permanent employee (recruiting costs, salary, taxes, benefits/vacations, pensions, insurance plan, space rental, and equipment (computer, software, furniture, telephone, etc . ));
downtime associated with an employee not showing up for work – lost efficiency;
costs associated with employee turnover;
costs associated with teaching; and
any number of other associated costs with hiring and maintaining a permanent employee.
With a VA you pay only for the services performed – an extremely cost-effective solution. Whether you need two hours, 4 hours or a full day, you aren’t saddled with paying unnecessary costs. Most professional VAs will have years of expertise in their particular field or specialization.

You can’t do it all so what much better time than now to hire a VA to assist you with meeting your company goals. As a business owner you have specialized skills that enable you to generate income for the business, but if you spend time managing tasks that a VA could carry out you lose income and decrease productivity. That doesn’t have to be the case. Collaborate with a VA to get the business support services you will need, keep costs down, increase productivity and eventually increase revenue.

When Considering Hiring a VA

When looking to hire a VA look into the VA’s website to get a sense of the type of person she/he is. The website should list at a minimum:

the services offered;
professional and educational background of the VA;
a method of contact; and
rates charged – highly skilled VAs might charge anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour depending on the service (rates vary and in some instances can be higher).
You should also e-mail or call the VA to see how responsive the particular VA is. You might also be able to get in touch with the VA via a form on the website. The website should provide you with enough information to determine if the VA is usually someone you would like to do business with. Once you have evaluated the website and like what you have experienced, make contact with the VA. The conversation(s) you experience with the VA will further determine if a business relationship is practical.

A VA may require:

a minimum quantity of hour(s) to get started working with you,
that you simply sign a contract for services, plus
a down payment before beginning any work.
Don’t let this deter you since the VA is in business also. Just like you’re checking out the VA, he/she is also checking you out. To get a VA, having these mechanisms in position usually weed out unsavory potential clients. In the end you need to be as diligent in your search for a highly skilled and competent VETERANS ADMINISTRATION as you would for a permanent worker. You and your VA can enjoy an enduring long productive relationship.

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