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Do you have a Virtual Paralegal Question, Comment or Suggestion?
Virtual paralegals are not required to hold a license in order to perform their duties as paralegals.
However, the legal restriction for operating a virtual paralegal business is for the virtual paralegal to work exclusively under the supervision of licensed attorneys to prevent unauthorized practice of law.
Virtual paralegals must always represent themselves as the paralegal and never an attorney and maintain a log of all their clients and projects to prevent any conflicts of interest.
Virtual Paralegals are contract, independent or freelance paralegals qualified by education, training or work experience who are employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible on an as needed basis with such services being supplied through the use of technology and remote access systems.
Question: Hi VirtPara:
I am currently a bankruptcy paralegal and I am looking to gain experience in other areas of law.
VirtPara - Hi Patricia:
To acquire experience in other practice areas; please consider the following:
•1. Partnering with other paralegals in other practice areas
•2. Join paralegal associations and network
•3. Apply for internships and/or probono work
•4. Apply for an entry level position in a practice area of interests
•5. Attend workshops that are offered by Courts to assist low income families.
Hope this help. Good luck.
VPTC - President
Question: If the attorney is responsible for the work of the paralegal, why do I need business insurance and what type should I get? Thank you!
You are right; the attorney is responsible for reviewing and signing off on all final projects prepared by the virtual paralegal; so it is likely that if a client has a problem; it would fall on the attorney or law firm.
However, keep in mind that you are a business owner and the attorney is your client. Depending on the situation, your client, the attorney or law firm can sue, for example, violating any contracts/agreements or policies signed before your business relationship. Also, keep in mind that some virtual paralegals work directly with consumers and not with attorneys.
There are also business insurance that will cover you for loss or damage to your business if you should experience a disaster at your home that results in losses to you business.
The type of insurance you will need depends on your business or practice areas and your level of risks in your business.
The following are some of the basic business insurances that are recommended for small and home-based businesses; however, you do not need to purchase all of them; only the ones that are suitable for your business and practice areas:
I am a "seasoned" paralegal with extensive experience in personal injury, medical malpractice, toxic tort, etc. litigation. I am trying to decide whether to take the plunge into VP. I am also a certified process server in my county and took that test when the economy started to decline and firms started laying paralegals off and closing their doors, "what if I am one of those laid off, what I will do in this economy?" I got my CPS license. I never was laid off and my firm held together. I'm sorry, TMI. In short, I am thinking of starting my own VP business. How is it going for VPs these days? What are your suggestions for someone just starting out? Thank you. KG
Impressive, congrats on all of your accomplishments. Most virtual paralegals in my network are doing fairly good, but most have had their practice for more than 3 years. However, I believe that in today’s market the demand for virtual paralegals is growing; so there is great potential for having a successful business.
My advice is always to encourage new virtual paralegals to start out on a part-time basis. Take as much time as you need to build your practice to the point where it can pay for its expenses as well as to pay you a salary that you can live on.
You may also supplement your practice with a part-time or temp/contract position to have a constant cash flow. You may also start out the way that I did; I had 2 partners who helped me to grow my business while holding on to my day job.
Marketing is key. Referrals have been my best marketing tool so far. I have made some connections with social media specifically Linked In but with very little solid contracts. Start with your local attorneys first then branch out nationwide.
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I am researching the market to determine whether law firms and corporate legal departments have a need for supplemental paralegal training. My concept is to offer customized paralegal training based on the requirements and needs of the managing attorneys. Thank you for your consideration. VCirilli
Thank you for your inquiry.
I am not sure about law firms need to have customized training but I should clarify that my experience has been working in large law firms who usually have their senior paralegals train their entry level paralegals.
However, I have also worked in –house and I feel that they would benefit from your customized training. The in-house positions that I have been in, I had to pretty much trained myself … of course my years of working in the law firms has help me. Depending on the in-house, the legal department is usually smaller with a General Counsel who doesn’t have the time to train its staff, therefore, they usually hire experienced paralegals that have worked in law firms or have had an in-house position in the past.
As a virtual paralegal, I found that solo practitioners and small law firms need training on how to hire and work with virtual paralegals in general.
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