After our recent blog post about virtual accounting firms, we are following up this week with a deep-dive on virtual law firms. Similar to what is happening in other professional services, law firms are also increasingly going "online-first". In this post we cover that it means for a law-firm to be online-first and what the benefits are.

What are virtual law firms?

Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar law firms, virtual law firms embrace new technology, prioritize automation, and deliver service digitally. Below we break down some of the advantages virtual law firms benefit from.

Virtual law firms are more secure

Virtual law firms tend to use secure client portals or secure file-sharing solutions. These services use technology from tech giants like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure which have strong encryption. Compared to traditional filing cabinets with servers stored in a physical office, information is more secure.

Virtual law firms automate mindless work

Attorneys that embrace technology understand that they need to focus on work that requires high-level thinking and can automate everything else. For example, when it comes to converting leads to customers, virtual law firms deploy AI-powered chatbots on their website and use automatic client intake forms. When it comes to billing, virtual law firms use auto-pay subscriptions whenever possible.

Virtual law firms minimize expenses

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many law firms to close their offices. But now, as some lawyers are opening their offices again, many are wondering if it is still necessary. There is no right answer but there is no doubt that each year, more and more law firms will be 100% online. The tools get better each year and new law firms should seriously consider whether a modern client portal solution can replace some of the benefits that offices have provided in the past. At the very least, going fully digital means that one of the largest monthly expenses (rent) goes to $0.

Virtual law firms benefit employees

When you deliver services virtually to clients, it is also easier to run your firm virtually. Working from home provides lawyers with more flexibility, no commutes, and more location independence. It also gives you employers the ability to hire attorneys from a wider geographic area.

How do you start a virtual law firm?

To start or transition to being a virtual law firm, below we listed some of the important decisions you need to make. There are of course many other steps you need to take to start a new business, but for the purpose of this blog post, we're going to focus on the decisions that are most important for virtual  firms that aim to differentiate themselves.

Landing Page

For virtual law firms, your landing page is extraordinarily important because it tells the world who you are, what services you offer, and how to get in touch with you. Today, the vast majority of law firm websites still look like they were made in the the 1990s. To stand out, you need a website that looks modern, works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop, and captures your brand well.

It is also important to choose a landing page builder that ensures the content you create is SEO optimized. You can think of content as one of your growth channels. It doesn't cost anything to make content (except the time cost of writing it) so a well-executed content strategy can help you stand out.

Client Portal

Modern client portal software aims to recreate your office online. You can think about your client portal as a place where your clients login once to access everything they need. This includes the ability to communicate with you, securely share files with you, schedule appointments with you, attend virtual meetings, access your knowledge base, pay you, and more.

Today, too many online law firms decide to stitch together various B2B services. They might use one service for file-sharing, another service for billing, another for secure messaging, etc. The problem with this is that it's expensive to pay so many SaaS fees and it's a terrible experience for clients who now have to manage multiple logins.

Choose Portal as your virtual law firm technology partner

We started Portal with the belief that working with law firms should be delightful. No matter the practice area, no matter whether you firm operates in corporate law, immigration law, or intellectual property law, clients every demand a simple user experience. At Portal, we have made this our focus. With hundreds of firms now choosing Portal as their technology partner, we believe we have the best all-in-one solution that solves this problem.

Portal employs a modular system which means that you can decide which functionality to turn on and which to turn off. We have modules for file-sharing, messaging, billing and invoicing, knowledge base and a free landing page add-on. Each of these modules work together in concert. For example, if a client send a message via the messaging module, the file is automatically added to their shared folder.

Portal is also completely white-label. We put our customers front and center and provide the ability to customize everything (logos, colors, workflows, etc.) and host on your own domain. This gives you authority as a service provider and helps reinforce your brand and build trust.

Get the best client portal solution for your virtual law firm with Portal today!