According to an article that appeared in the American Bar Association website, law is a field that has been historically resistant to change. The article, which was written by renowned attorney Chad Burton, states that despite longstanding conventions, factors such as technological advances, the economic recession, and changing client needs have forced lawyers to change the way they serve their clients. One of these innovations is the increasing number of virtual law firms.
Virtual law firms differ from brick-and-mortar law firms because lawyers operate from their homes or in a virtual office space in Maryland. Using state-of-the-art technology, lawyers interact with their clients on the World Wide Web. Many notable law firms based in the Washington D.C. metro area, and in Maryland and Virginia, have hopped onto the virtual office bandwagon.
Burton states that virtual law practices are no different from traditional law firms; the medium may have changed, but the services remain the same. Virtual law firms use secured cloud computing to share and store clients’ information, and to support client services. By creating a paperless work environment, virtual law firms minimize the security risks associated with more traditional law firms that preserve the bulk of their data on paper.
Even if natural disasters such as fires and floods strike, the data stored online will be kept safe. Cloud solutions and legal-specific online practice management tools have increased the efficiency and mobility of lawyers, and have enhanced collaborative efforts with other lawyers. In addition, virtual office solutions have expanded the geographical range in which lawyers can operate.
Burton runs a virtual law firm based in Dayton, Ohio, but also operates in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, as well as parts of North Carolina. In Ohio alone, he serves clients within a 70-mile radius, in addition to a separate client base in North Carolina. Easy access to legal services gives lawyers the edge they need in an increasingly competitive market.
Companies that offer Maryland virtual office spaces, such as Metro Offices, offer their clients premiere office locations in the Metro D.C. area that are accessible to virtual lawyers and their clients. While virtual lawyers largely interact with their clients and associates remotely, virtual office spaces provide conference rooms, and private and semi-private workspaces where lawyers can hold physical meetings with their associates or clients when needed. These virtual office spaces offer advanced technology and remote office solutions to ensure consistent collaboration between lawyers and their clients.
Despite criticism from skeptics, virtual law firms are set to proliferate within the next couple of years, particularly among firms that practice family and bankruptcy laws. Companies such as Metro Offices can provide lawyers with virtual office solutions that are tailored to meet their needs. By choosing to go virtual, lawyers can increase their client base and boost their efficiency even in an uncertain economy.