Virtual Offices for Law Firms in Florida
Traditional regular law offices in Florida can be costly, accompanying along a long term lease. However, virtual offices in Florida offer unique solutions that will save you money, secure the right location and image for your law firm office suite.
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office provides top-range presence without the operational costs involved in setting up a permanent structure and dedicated building for proper law services. This is an implied space performing regular law office duties.
Its main objective is to cut the costs and rent required which can save up to 60%. This study shows that your costs for staff (no more hiring a receptionist or a cleaner), recruitment, training, tax obligations, vacation pay, medical and other benefits are greatly reduced if not eliminated reducing your costs from thousands to hundreds.
How does a virtual office work?
A virtual office has all the qualities of an office minus the actual physical structure. Some of these qualities are:
personnel receptionist answering calls
bilingual translator (In some cases)
Related: 10 Reasons to do Business in Florida
The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Lawyers
For firms looking to expand or move to a new place, the costs that come with new law firm suites can be challenging. Virtual offices offer the perfect solution. Here's what they have to offer.
As mentioned above the savings on staff offer a huge reduction of costs. Pay for what you need / use means you are not wasting money on an office lease for services that you do not need all the time. You are also able to choose a physical location closer to your clients boosting the economical power of your firm.
Excellent customer experience
Virtual office providers offer top of the range customer service solutions suited for your firm's performance and profile. For example, a bilingual receptionist.
Access to amenities
Law firm suites require exceptional facilities that give a good impression to clients and investors. Virtual offices in the 221 Building offer grade A services, coffee, conference rooms, private offices and mail services.
Presence in the business community
Securing the finest location for law firm office suites will place you in the right position for business and create the environment for law practice. Moreover, these offices aren't too costly. Most virtual offices have their address in a business recognized area.
The challenges of the modern day legal virtual office today
Current structures for virtual and executive offices do not inspire the expected impression to clients and potential clients. However, 221 Building in Florida offers solutions to these problems.
1. With shared space and an open area, all kinds of people can access the law firm office suites. This environment does not create the required space for confidential meetings.
2. May provide a false image to prospective clients and investors. Since there is shared space between different firms and attorneys, the office may turn into a living situation with people walking around in short jeans and slippers.
3. Though the growing hip look may be what works for most business, clients seem to prefer a more stable consistent image for their lawyers.
221 Building combines the law firm office suites and the executive offices, taking the required steps to counter these problems. The difference between is that 221 Building offers more in self-governance due to the fact that they are completely autonomous with affordable solutions similar to what big firms offer.
Improved office technology accelerates the detachment of law firms from bricks-and-mortar. In the 80's, technology began to eliminate certain job positions and consequently employment from the walking place. This was made possible through the constant improvement in processors, fax machines and computers.
Over time, this has proven to be at an advantage for virtual offices and how they operate, especially for law firm suites. However, it wasn't until the 90s, that technology completely took over the virtual office and made it easy and possible to run and practice law, profitably, especially through the use of the internet. This is when a full detachment from brick-and-motor happened.
What the Florida bar says about virtual offices
Law firms in Florida are making a big difference in satellite offices compared to genuine law firm suites. However, as much as it is easy and affordable to set up virtual offices all over Florida, the Florida Bar is clear on the difference between genuine offices and satellite offices.
Therefore, during advertising, you should clearly show which offices are satellite. Any form of advertising for attorneys must have full disclosure of one or more genuine locations for law firm office suites' of the attorney or attorneys performing the advertised services.
It was found that many law firms display law offices in certain cities where in fact, no offices exist. The rule defines 'a genuine location for a law office' as a concrete structure where the law firm or attorney offers legal services in a considerable manner on a regular, orderly basis.
The same rule further explains, that if the same office offers little or no staff on a full-time basis, the presence of an attorney is irregular and non-continuous and where legal services are not provided on a considerable regular manner, then that is not a genuine law office location.
Therefore, in order to determine whether an advertised location is genuine, the following criteria were developed:
1. Is there an outside sign or an office building directory with the Law firm's name?
2. Does the advertised law firm location have a call center with employees answering calls from prospective clients?
3. Does the advertised law office firm have employed staff on a full-time basis? ; paralegal services, secretarial and receptionist services.
4. Does the advertised firm location have at least one attorney on a regular basis?
5. Are legal services offered by the attorneys from the advertised location?
Therefore, it is advised that instead of misleading the public with ghost locations, it is better to advertise stating your availability for consultation and appointments at an office location on planned time. Identifying some office locations as 'satellite' or 'limited-service' when on hourly renting-rates is advised.
Understanding the Nuances of Virtual Lawyering: VLOs, VLFs and VLSs
In law, the word 'virtual' can be used to mean a couple of different things. Moreover, law practice highlights the significance of language, punctuation, ambiguity and more, which may have an impact on the rules of ethics. Taking this into consideration, I have summarized virtual terms and how they relate to law practice as follows:
Virtual Law Firms (VLFs)
Also referred to as virtual law practices. This is where full-time staff and attorneys are not housed in a specified location with law firm suites as with regular firms. However, the staff and attorneys provide services from where they prefer, through the use of technology and other virtual office secretarial benefits.
This system relies on the use of computer applications to store, access and modify company as well as client information and details. Some systems have been put in place for effective communication with clients as well as prospective clients. Through the power of the internet, some law firm suites rarely meet with their clients, but offer their services online.
Virtual Law Offices (VLOs)
VLOs are designed specifically to save on rent and other costs while enjoying all the resources and opportunities of a regular traditional office. Some of these opportunities include; mail, reception, secretarial and administrative services as well as conference rooms. Moreover, this is done only when needs arise.
Virtual Legal Services (VLSs)
These are online services provided by computer applications. In this case, there is minimal lawyer interaction since the client (user of the application) will be guided through the process by this application. However, it is critical to note, VLSs offered by these applications without any interaction of a lawyer, cannot ask for legal fees as part of the transaction. Although, if a lawyer is involved in the process, jurisdictional laws allow them to do so.
Examples of companies that offer VLSs are LegalZoom and RocketLawyer
What types of firms are making virtual practice work for them?
Law firms like the Advocates Law Group from Seattle, the Virtual Law Group and plenty of other attorneys, are practicing virtual law, and successfully. Attorneys such as Baudean from Virginia and Charles Smith, a criminal defense attorney, who are in court throughout the day and consequently the week, prefer to use virtual offices since they would spend very little time in the office.
Renting a traditional office would prove to be non cost-effective in the long run. Moreover, since the nature of virtual offices is easy and reliable access, then this would be the option to consider. Other players in the game are the experienced practitioners.
Law firm suites offer more stability than flexibility and this is the point where these seasoned practitioners would opt for a virtual office. After going through the resources and benefits available for virtual offices with Tamblyn, one experienced practitioner from Seattle, he said that he is not interested in going back to traditional law firm suites anymore. In any case, it a smoother transition to join a virtual legal team of attorneys or firms instead of flying solo. The main challenge in virtual offices arises through management where maintaining control and loyalty to collaboration is a bit tricky.
Steps For Setting Up A Virtual Law Office
Virtual offices allow attorneys to reduce their marketing and management efforts. This time can better be utilized to focus on client matters and other aspects of the firm. If you're thinking of putting in place a virtual office, below is a 5 step process to get you on your feet.
Understanding your needs
The key features of a virtual office are the administrative duties and telecommunication services. Sometimes, it is an additional feature to have a free live chat with your clients on the firm's website where the attorneys can interact directly with prospective clients. Also, with mobile applications being the trend of today, we expect to easily access legal solutions from the push of a button.
What are the advantages and limitations of opening up a virtual law office?
Reduced operational costs
Increased performance and productivity
Effective client reception and in taking
Lack of necessary support
Before you set up your virtual office, it is advised to first walk around the market and window shop while sourcing for gadgets. The market has a variety of options to choose from and therefore it is better to take some time and opt for the option that bests suits your style and office. Moreover, many of these options come with a free trial and therefore, it aids in the process.
Stick to your budget
Proper planning and budgeting will benefit you further down the line.
After procuring the telecommunication and secretarial services, it is important to keep a record of the number of clients brought in through them on a monthly basis. This will help to find out whether these services serve to profit or drain your business unnecessarily.
Here are a few points to consider while making the analysis.
How many clients have been brought in this month?
Is it time-effective?
How much profit is being made?
How many issues have occurred?
Is tech support required? How often?
Training your staff can create long-term employees who are willing to understand the process of how your law firm operates and can improve performance than solutions found from outside parties. If you would like more information on virtual offices in the Hallande / Aventura area then contact 221 building today.