However, some attorneys opt to integrate online legal services into their traditional practices. In such cases, face to face contact is still a large part of the case-management process.
Regardless of which virtual law practice is adopted, there are benefits to both attorney and client. With VLO, clients can log in to check to status of their case, reference documents, and to fill out necessary paperwork without having to call or schedule an appointment with an attorney. Not only does this method provide clients with instant access to their files and case information but it also gives them a sense of control over their case. Clients can access their information at their convenience, at any time of day or night. Invoices can also be issued and payment collected online. This provides time savings for all involved.
The VLO saves time in other ways too, as technology allows for the streamlining of work. By providing paralegals with access to online files, administrative matters can be taken care of immediately. Paralegals can access a file to provide basic answers to clients, to schedule conference calls, or post reminders on clients' files. Rather than relying solely on the physical file, attorneys and law firm colleagues can pull up client information on a Smartphone or through any other Internet accessible device.
Through VLO, some firms have found that they can expand their client-base. Client and attorney do not need to be within driving distance of one another when all transactions are carried out over the Internet. Therefore, attorneys can serve clients across the state that they are licensed to practice law in. In addition to a larger client base, the VLO can also provide attorney's with more flexibility in their schedules, thus creating a healthier work/life balance. With the VLO, the attorney does not need to be in the office to continue working with clients.
In today's economy, the greatest benefit of the VLO may very well be the reduced costs associated with the VLO. Because the software serves as the physical office, attorneys can work from home or anywhere that there is Internet access. This reduces costs, which in turn, makes the online services more affordable to clients.
Of course there are some issues that users of the VLO need to be aware of. Online legal service
providers and users should be cognizant of malpractice issues, jurisdiction issues, identity fraud, and issues that may arise from taking online payments.