Virtual Paralegal Training Center


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Virtual Paralegal Training

  • 03 Jun 2020 5:27 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    If you have worked in a law office or legal department you know that working with attorneys can be challenging as well as demanding. However, there is a difference between working with an attorney that is difficult and one that is impossible.

    How to tell if a prospective client is going to be a “problem client”?

    • If the client does not show you respect at your first meeting whether by phone, email or in person; he is going to be a “problem client”.
    • If the client complains or bad mouth their previous paralegal or assistant.
    • If the client fails to explain the assignment clearly.
    • If the client cancels multiple meetings.
    • If the client does not have a clear deadline.
    • If you do not have a clear point of contact for the client.
    • If it is difficult to find the client.
    • If the client refuses to sign your business agreements.
    • If the client only wants to sign agreements that only covers them and not, you.
    • If the client wants you to charge significantly less than your asking price.
    • If the client wants you to bend or break the law.
  • 03 Jun 2020 5:25 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    When you’re just starting out, getting any work feels like a good thing. And for the most part, it is. Many people think the best way to keep a client is never to say ‘No’ to him or her. The rule of thumb for turning away clients is based on these three rules; you need to have a credible reason, be sympathetic, and not leave any room for negotiations.

    Below are credible reasons why you should say “No” to your client.

    • You should always say no to a client when you are not qualified to do the assignment.  Let the client know that you are not experienced in that area and is not comfortable that you will deliver a satisfactory outcome.
    • Refer the client to another virtual paralegal who is familiar with the type of work or refer the client to a resource such as the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ where the client can find someone who is qualified to do the work.
    • You should say no to a client if the client offers you a project you would not enjoy working on.
    • You are not going to like working on all your projects but if you are offered a project that you know will be hard for you to give your best, you should turn it down.
    • If you are not available to meet the client’s deadline you should reject the project.
    • If you do not feel that you will be comfortable working with a client you should not accept their project, instead respectfully decline.
    • Try to avoid clients with unrealistic expectations or demands.
  • 03 Jun 2020 5:21 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Client relationships are tricky, especially when you’re a virtual paralegal. There’s no one set of strategies that will help you get along with every attorney you must work for. Not all client relationships are positive, and there are cases where it’s better to fire a client than allow the relationship to continue.

    It is time to “fire” your client if:

    • Your client is rude and disrespectful to you and your staff.
    • Your client insists on more of your time than they are willing to pay for.
    • Your client tries to sneak in more work for the initial project price.
    • Your client does not hold up his or her end of the assignment making your end impossible.
    • Your client is way too critical about every assignment.
    • Your client is too unorganized.
    • Your client does not have time or is unwilling to communicate what they want from you.
    • Your client is emotionally unbalanced.
    • Your client wants you to bend or break the law.
    • Your client doesn’t pay on time or pay at all.
  • 03 Jun 2020 4:33 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    If your business is growing, and you find yourself turning away new clients and assignments; this is the time to consider hiring help, outsourcing or taking on a new partner.

    The best way to manage a growing business is to outsource to other virtual paralegals in your practice areas to help you with your work load. If you are considering a partnership, when hiring employees or independent contractors you must follow these steps:

    §  Determine if your business can afford to pay an employee or independent contractor.

    §  Create an agreement on how and when they will be paid.

    §  Be careful about guaranteeing workload unless you have a certain volume of work from your clients.

    §  Keep track of all your independent contractors or employee’s projects due dates.

    §  Create policies and procedures for independent contractor or employees to make sure they represent your business correctly.

    §  Encourage your employees or independent contractors to advertise your business and create an incentive program for them to bring in new business to your company.

    §  Ask all your clients for feedback on your independent contractors or employees to make sure that your clients are satisfied with their work.

    §  Stay involve with all your clients even if your independent contractor or employee do most of the work.

    §  All employees and independent contractors must sign confidentiality agreements.

    §  Before you outsource your clients’ work, make sure that you get their permission and carefully vet your new paralegal before hiring or partnering with them.

  • 03 Jun 2020 4:31 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    §  What are your specialties and areas of practice?

    §  How long have you been a paralegal and when did you start offering your services virtually?

    §  Confirm that they have the necessary software and technology to assist you and your clients.

    §  Do you have back up and virus protection for your computer? You need to know that your clients work, and documents are protected.

    §  What are your operating hours? Your assistants’ operating hours must be the same as yours or they should complement your hours.

    §  What are your fees? Confirm all your assistant fees before hire and make sure that you can afford them.

    §  Most importantly, before any hire you must always check and verify their employment history, degrees/certifications and references.

  • 03 Jun 2020 4:28 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Every business owner needs sometime away from their business to unwind and rejuvenate; which is one of the deciding factors for most virtual paralegals when deciding to go out on their own; is the need for flexibility. The ability to set their own hours and chose their assignments.

    However, as your business begins to grow you will find it more and more difficult to take time away if you do not have help.

    Here are some tips and guidelines on how to take some time away from your business, with or without help.

    • When possible, plan your time off during your clients’ slow period.
    • As soon as you have determined the time you want to take off, let your clients know so that you can discuss any pending assignments with them.
    • If you do not have help, make sure to complete all your open assignments before you schedule your time off.
    • Do not accept any new assignments that will be difficult for you to complete before your time off.
    • Instead, consider outsourcing new assignments or refer your client to another virtual paralegal.
    • Create a referral agreement with other virtual paralegals in your practice areas to handle these assignments and to protect you from losing your clients.
    • Prepare an automatic email message and voicemail reminding your clients and other senders that you are currently out of the office. Include in your email whether you will have access and if you will be reading emails while you are away.
    • If you work directly with your clients’- clients include the name and number of the person, they should contact while you are out of your office.
    • Make sure that your billing records are up to date and you have sent out all outstanding invoices.
    • Relax and enjoy some time away from your business!
  • 03 Jun 2020 2:42 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)
    • Choose your Business Name
    • Determine your Business Structure
    • Incorporate your Business
    • Obtain your Federal Tax ID Number
    • Determine Funding for your Business
    • Order your Business Domain & Email
    • Create your Business Website and/or Blog
    • Create your Business Budget
    • Open Business & PayPal Bank Accounts
    • Set your Fees
    • Research Accounting Software
    • Research Practice Area Software
  • 03 Jun 2020 2:38 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Establishing your own business can be one of the most exciting parts of your career. Starting your business offers many opportunities and allows an entrepreneur to choose his or her own hours and spend more quality time with family.

    It also takes a lot of time, energy and courage to launch a business. If you skip steps, you could set yourself up for failure. Below you will find a simple, basic checklist to get your business up and running, but the checklist will vary depending on your individual needs, your practice areas, and various other factors.

    • Research your practice areas to make sure there is a demand in the market for your service
    • Make a list of the services you plan to offer
    • Narrow your list to the services that you can deliver remotely
    • Create mock assignments for each service to determine how long it will take for you to complete each assignment.
    • Research your practice areas software and equipment
    • Choose your business name
    • Determine your business structure
    • Purchase your business domain and email
    • Create your website or blog
    • Create your social media pages: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, etc.
    • Finance your business
    • Open your business and PayPal bank accounts
    • Set your virtual paralegal fees
    • Set-up your office
    • Draft your legal contracts and agreements
    • Create a marketing budget
    • Create your marketing plan
  • 03 Jun 2020 2:31 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Choosing your business name is one of the most important steps in launching your virtual paralegal business.  Your business name will have an impact on how your clients’ view you and it reflects your brand identity.

    Here is a checklist that experts believe should be considered when creating your business name.

    1)    Keep it short and simple.

    2)    Avoid unusual spellings and make it easy to pronounce.

    3)    Check with your state to make sure that your business name is available for use; also, check to make sure that the domain and social media custom URL is available.

    4)    Try to choose a name that will allow you to expand into other practice areas if that is your vision for the future of your business.

    5)    If you plan to stick with a niche include your specialty in your name.

    6)    Think about branding when you are choosing your name; you want to make sure your name can fit on your business card and think about how it will look as part of your logo.

    7)    After you have decided on your name, go ahead and register it with the state in which you plan to operate your business; as well as to purchase your domain name.

    • 8)    As you establish your business, you should seriously consider trademark for your business name.

    Business Name Protection

    1)    Entity name protects you at state level

    2)    Trademark protects you at a federal level

    3)    Doing Business As (DBA) doesn’t give legal protection, but might be legally required

    4)    Domain name protects your business website address

  • 03 Jun 2020 2:28 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Choosing your business name is one of the most important steps in launching your virtual paralegal business.  Your business name will have an impact on how your clients’ view you and it reflects your brand identity.

    It is very tempting to create unique names that may be suitable for hobbies or other businesses and forget the rules and expectations of the legal industry.

    I must admit that I am guilty of several ‘don’ts’ when creating my business name.

    Like most eager entrepreneur, I wanted to be unique and standout among my competitors, so I named my business “Evolution Parajuristes” – Paralegal in French. This has caused me some embarrassment when I could not properly pronounce the name of my firm.

    My clients also had some difficulty spelling and pronouncing my business name.

    This was evident when they tried to send me emails that bounced back and when they misspelled my business name on checks. I am sure it has also affected my referral services.

    Whenever a client refers someone to my firm, it is usually to one of our paralegals and not the “firm”. Personal referrals are great, but it did not help much when I was trying to develop my business brand.

    However, I have managed to do a few things right when choosing my business name.

    1)    I kept the name short.

    2)    The name provides information about the services that I provide.

    3)    My primary practice areas are corporate and compliance, but my business name allow me to expand in other areas without alteration or changing the name…again.

    To correct my mistake, I filed a DBA (“Doing Business As”) that allow me to operate my business under the English version Evolution Paralegals”; lucky for me it was still available both on the state level as well as a domain.

    My mistake has costs me in several ways:

    • I had to reprint all my marketing materials;
    • I had to purchase a new domain and change my email address;
    • The cost of registering the DBA; and
    • Updating my website among other things.

    Here is a checklist that experts believe should be considered when creating your business name.

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