Lawyers were and continue to be a little slow to catch up with anything virtual. I’ve been slow myself– I still am! But once you think creatively and out of the box, there’s so much you can do virtually.
99% of it all can be done in front of a computer, anywhere in the world. Your virtual assistant can be an integral part of the growth and transformation of your law firm.
Here I talk about what your virtual assistant is capable of. What tasks can you delegate to streamline your work and make your firm run more efficiently?
Tasks to Give Your Virtual Assistant
Your virtual assistant handling these tasks could speed things up for you and your team:
Lawyers are really really bad at responding to emails, so your assistant can help to make you look really, really good instead!
Your assistant doesn’t need to respond with legal advice because they might not know legal advice. Instead, my virtual assistant, Amy, follows up with me by saying something like:
“Hey, it’s been a day and you haven’t responded,” or she’ll say, “Do you want me to respond for you?,” and, “How do you want me to respond?” There’s a lot of different ways to handle emails.
Your assistant can do the following for your emails:
- Label everything
- Archiving with labels (makes it easy for your team to find things)
- Labels that indicate when a client signed the contract (“Clients 2018” “Clients 2017”)
- Labels that indicate what’s been done to that email: Responded, Done, etc.
- Creating folders and subfolders
- Your clients and their cases can have folders and subfolders
- Each of your specific specialties can have their own folders in your inbox
- Setting things up so that emails land where they should go: your primary inbox, promotion inbox, social inbox, and so on. For example, billing emails are forwarded to your business manager, and listserv emails go to a specific tab instead of your primary tab so you’re not alerted to emails you don’t need to be notified about at all!
- Replying on your behalf and asking you, “How do you want me to respond?” as needed.
- Forwarding urgent/important emails to your main inbox so you won’t have to check all your inboxes
My inquiry address is firm-wide: the emails are handled by my team and if someone on my team has a question, they’ll forward it to me.
I think that if you have a clientele that emails a lot, your virtual assistant can be handling all of that communication for you.
Again, if there’s something that she can’t answer, she’ll forward it to you or say, “Hey, can you check such-and-such email, there’s a question in there I don’t know how to answer.”
Preparing client letters, cover letters, and forms
Similar to email, you can manage a lot of documents virtually, and your in-office team can print them when needed.
Your virtual assistant can assemble packets for you and your team through files in your Google Drive or case management system.
- Your virtual assistant can organize the packet, and then all you or your team have to do is have them printed
- Or your assistant can print them, organize them, scan them, and send them back. And you’ll only have to print them, or forward it to clients still in digital form and keep things paperless!
In today’s technology, your assistant can handle all your bills virtually! That’s a huge load off your mind and off your plate.
Amy even pays all our business licenses! She has our firm credit card and my personal credit cards, and she knows when and how to make all of our payments.
Not everyone can work independently
When you are looking for a virtual assistant, or are considering letting someone in-office to work from home, remember that you need a self-starter. Someone who can work independently, who doesn’t need hand-holding. That’s the thing with Amy– I don’t have to check in with her that much. She initiates communication. She gets things done.
You can look at their job history too. I think that you can tell based on someone’s job history if they’re going to be able to work independently or not because there’s nobody here to make sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
Some people just can’t work on their own without being told what to do, and in order to build trust, you need to know that your virtual assistant or employee is capable of working well independently.
Build trust first
Aside from getting things done without being managed, trust is important for every company in many other aspects. This is a legitimate worry: someone you hired could steal your work product or could lose your work product. That’s why something like Dropbox is really helpful. If someone deletes something off the Dropbox you, as the owner of the account, can go through and restore it.
You can make sure that it comes back and you can remotely take it off their computer and revoke their access.
Of course, you build trust over time, little by little. Give your assistant things to do, and see how efficiently they do those tasks, before giving your assistant all your trust.
You might resist it! But stick with it!
You’ll be surprised! You hire your assistant to be helpful and then the first thing she changes might make you say, “I don’t like this. I don’t like these labels.”
That’s what I said to Amy!
Anything new can be a bit shocking. You would find yourself resisting change at first. But stick with it and you’ll be thankful.
For example, Amy created automatic filters and labels for my emails. Emails automatically go to specific inboxes so that only the important and urgent emails go to my inbox. I know that if I get an email alert I should look at it, instead of assuming it could just be another form or whatever.
I’ve seen so many lawyers combine all their inboxes together, their personal, their professional, if they have another business, they add that one too, all in one inbox. They’ll have like 20,000 unread emails, I’m not kidding! I’ve seen somebody with 20,000 unread emails. That is just a recipe for a disaster when it comes to you having good communication with your clients.
So you see, your virtual assistant is a godsend when it comes to streamlining and organizing your business, not to mention making you look good to your clients.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out! Amy and I would be happy to answer any virtual assistant related questions you may have.
If you can believe it, I have even more knowledge to share on this topic! If you’d like to learn more about streamlining your law firm, sign up for my Six Figure Solo program! Six Figure Solo now comes in three tiers – Executive, Solopreneur, and CEO. Sign up here!