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The virtual paralegal  blog is where we discuss upcoming training, resources, events, products, services and news relevant to the virtual paralegal business.  


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  • 29 Jul 2021 8:33 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Tactics to negotiate your salary

    1. Decide What You Need From Your Job

      The first step of any negotiation, whether it’s for your salary, benefits, or a proper coffee, is knowing what you need. Look at your monthly and annual budget, what you’re currently paying for retirement and insurance, what tax bracket this new position grants you, and go from there. Also, consider the work environment. Can you work from home part-time, or will you always need to commute? Perhaps childcare weighs in on your budget. These are all reasons to note and jot down, so you can let your potential employer know where you stand.

    2. Examine the Job Offer

      Now it’s time to take everything you’ve considered in step one and bring those considerations with you while you study the job offer. Take a close look at what the benefits are. Is there a 401k? Maybe they provide medical insurance, but it will be up to you to find dental and vision insurance. Look for opportunities to grow within the company, and think over what that would require of you. Are you eligible for these advancements now, or would you need a few extra college credits before they would offer you a promotion?

    3. Research What Others Are Paying

      Information is power, and knowing your worth is vital. Do a quick Google search for your job title and see what other companies are paying, what this company is offering, and what the national and state averages are. Glassdoor has an engine to search salaries and compensation, or you can use a national database like this one from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

    4. Consider Your Counter Offer

      As mentioned above, companies expect salary negotiation. It’s part of the deal. So before you sit and talk with your new potential employer, consider your counter offer. A counter offer is essentially you saying, “This job looks great, but…” This is the part where you state what needs to change in the contract before you can seriously consider the job offer. Pro tip: Don’t go in with one number in mind. Decide on a range that would make the job acceptable and make sure the bottom of that range is still a reasonable living wage for you. Read more

    Written by Glassdoor

  • 25 Apr 2021 8:33 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Law firms and legal agencies around the world were forced to quickly adapt to work from home policies to avoid closing their offices, which became mandatory for other businesses due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

    There have been mixed feelings about this new norm whereas some paralegals appreciate the flexibility to work anywhere convenient for them and reporting savings from commuting to and from the office.

    Remote work has grown in popularity with 80 percent prefer to work from home, but the reality is only 3.6 percent of total employee workforce currently works remotely.

    However, employers are realizing that remote work shows an increase in productivity; according to a recent survey from the Global Workplace Analytics, employees are more productive 75 percent of the time they are working from home compared to 63percent of the time in the office.

    The objective of a distributed workforce is ostensibly to decrease payroll expenses. However, Attorneys should not assume that a remote work strategy will save their law firm money. Research into salary data reveals that remote workers are actually paid more than people who work in an office. 

    It is important to note that remote workers are not paid more because they work remotely. Rather, it is more likely that remote work opportunities currently tend to be reserved for high performers who have earned trust to work from home.

    How will this change the demand for virtual paralegals? Will law firms and legal departments want to outsource to freelance paralegals who own their businesses as independent contractors or continue to hire remote paralegals as employees?

    If the goal is to decrease their over-head cost, they will lean toward hiring virtual/freelance paralegals where they can reduce the cost associated with hiring full-time & part-time employees.

    Whereas companies seeking to recruit top candidates and retain top performers will need to start to offer home office setups or consider factoring the costs of working from an office into their compensation packages which is not expected when they hire virtual paralegals.

    Virtual Paralegal provide their own equipment and software necessary to complete and deliver their services to their clients.

  • 28 Mar 2021 3:21 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    The legal industry in the United States is primarily regulated by judges and lawyers, this makes access to legal help for average Americans enormously expensive and out of reach. The only way to increase access to justice is to expand the group of people and organizations that can provide legal help beyond JD-trained and licensed lawyers.

    Millions of litigants across the country have no choice but to represent themselves in state courts even though they do not have any understanding of the law and legal procedures. Some States argue that allowing paralegals, authorized nonlawyers and organizations could help ease overburdened on state courts and reduce their backlog significantly.

    The use of non-JD legal assistants and nonlawyer dominated businesses is not a venture into uncharted waters. The United Kingdom has a long history of allowing a wide variety of differently trained individuals and organizations provide legal assistance, and studies show that the practice works very well. In many cases, people are better served by a nonlawyer organization that specializes in a particular type of legal help navigating housing or bankruptcy matters, for example than they are by a solo practitioner with a general practice.

    Some states that are considering the recommendation to use nonlawyers to assist clients in some practice areas including Chicago, California, New York, Utah, & District of Columbia. However, The Washington Supreme Court will "sunset” the state’s Limited License Legal Technicians program that has permitted nonlawyers to perform some legal tasks within family law.

    “The program was an innovative attempt to increase access to legal services,” Chief Justice Debra L. Stephens wrote in her letter. “However, after careful consideration of the overall costs of sustaining the program and the small number of interested individuals, a majority of the court determined that the LLLT program is not an effective way to meet these needs and voted to sunset the program.”

  • 19 Mar 2021 4:24 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    WRITTEN BY: DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

    Law on Call—touted as the first entirely nonlawyer owned law firm in the United States—is open for business in Utah.

    Law on Call is operating as a result of legal reforms approved by the Utah Supreme Court in August 2020, according to a March 15 press release.

    The two-year pilot project allows law firms with nonlawyer owners and nontraditional legal service providers to operate in a “regulatory sandbox” in the state.

    Law.com and Reuters Legal have coverage.

    Law on Call’s clients pay $9 per month to get unlimited phone access to lawyers who can offer advice in the areas of business law, end-of-life planning, contracts, employment, housing and real estate. If legal work is needed, the discounted rates start at $100 per hour.

    Law on Call has also applied to operate in Arizona under its new rules and hopes to serve clients in other states that lift restrictions on nonlawyer ownership of law firms, according to Law.com. Three lawyers and two paralegals currently work for the company in Utah, but the aim is to eventually hire as many as 100 lawyers.

    Law on Call is a project of Northwest Registered Agent, a company in Spokane, Washington, that provides registered agent and corporate filing services. Tom Glover, president of Northwest Registered Agent, told Law.com that the company fills a need for consumers who are frustrated with the hurdles to hiring a lawyer.

    “You need to try to find one you like, submit an inquiry, schedule an initial call, connect with a lawyer to see if it’s a fit, get an engagement letter, send in a deposit,” Glover told Law.com. “Our customers are a lot more fast-paced.”

    See also:

    ABAJournal.com: “Rocket Lawyer is among the first applicants approved to join Utah’s regulatory sandbox program”

    ABAJournal.com: “How Utah’s judicial and state bar officials worked together for regulatory reform”

    ABAJournal.com: “Utah’s high court proposes nonlawyer ownership of law firms and wide-ranging reforms”

  • 16 Mar 2021 9:08 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    One of the perks of operating a virtual paralegal business is the flexibility to work from anywhere outside of a law office. Many companies have recently gone on record with a newly adopted work-from-anywhere or hybrid teams approach including Twitter, Google, Facebook, Zillow, Slack, Microsoft, and Capital One. Early data is already showing that one in five Americans has relocated due to COVID-19.

    Remote workers have reported saving an average of 40 minutes commuting to and from the office in addition to the cost of travel.

    There is an aspect of mental health and work-life balance benefits to working outside of the traditional office. 72% of survey respondents agreed that the ability to work remotely would make them less stressed and 77% reported that working remotely would make them better able to manage work-life balance.

    It is time for law firms and legal departments to rethink the way they work, and rethink the products, tools, and strategies currently in place, or need to employ or outsource to better support remote work, virtual/freelance and hybrid teams.

  • 11 Mar 2021 8:33 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    The discussion about nonlawyers practicing law without a law license has been an ongoing debate but it usually focuses on nonlawyers providing legal advice. Arizona Supreme Court has taken a different spin on the debate and has unanimously approved nonlawyers such as paralegals can now own a stake in a law firm.

    This ruling has eliminated the ethics rule 5.4, which bars nonlawyers from having an economic interest in a law firm, now creating new businesses called “Alternative Business Structures.” The court also instituted a new licensure process that will allow nonlawyers, called “legal paraprofessionals,” to begin providing limited legal services, including being able to go into court with clients.

    The changes, effective as of Jan. 1st, “will make it possible for more people to access affordable legal services and for more individuals and families to get legal advice and help. The new rules will promote business innovation in providing legal services at affordable prices,” said Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel in a statement.

  • 28 Feb 2021 10:41 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    On March 18, 2020, Senate Bill 3533, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (the “SECURE Act”), was introduced as bipartisan legislation to authorize and establish minimum standards for electronic and remote notarizations that occur in or affect interstate commerce. A substantially identical version of the bill was introduced in the House on March 23, 2020 as H.R.6364. If the SECURE Act becomes law in its current form, it will authorize every notary in the US to perform remote online notarizations (RON) using audio-visual communications and tamper-evident technology in connection with interstate transactions.

    Currently, there are 28 states that have enacted some form of remote online notarization (RON) law: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota*, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. [updated October 22].

    The basic components of each state’s RON law are to:

    • Allows notarial acts to be completed using audio-video communication, including acts where the signer is located outside the state in which the notary is authorized to operate.
    • Require that the notary authenticate the person signing; and
    • Require recording of the audio-video communication.

    For more details about state emergency actions, visit the National Notary Association’s State Notary Laws Updates.

  • 21 Feb 2021 5:54 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    According to PayScale’s Compensation Best Practices Report, remote work is becoming a major part of law firms’ benefit packages. Most paralegal positions posted on LinkedIn comes with some type of remote working arrangement at least until the pandemic is controlled. Law firms are looking for ways to reduce their payroll expenses by having their paralegals work remotely.

    Some have already seen some cost savings from a remote work strategy that have nothing to do with base pay, particularly as regards to infrastructure. For example, law firms could save money by shrinking their office space, reducing, or eliminating commuter benefits, and reducing expenses associated with workplace meals and other perks that are attractive benefits in an onsite work environment.

    Even though they may appear to be some upfront savings with remote employees’; law firm should expect to see new expenses with supporting a remote workforce such as: computers, monitors or other home office equipment, stipends for internet connectivity, upskilling or reskilling to help employees thrive in a remote work environment and collaboration software and other cloud-based technology.

    These expenses are usually the responsibility of the virtual paralegals that would save law firms and legal departments in payroll costs.

  • 15 Feb 2021 4:48 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    The pandemic has transformed millions of employees into overnight virtual workers. The legal industry who was reluctant to embrace technology is now into overdrive on the future of delivering their services to clients.

    The coronavirus has also accelerated a major shift to freelancing that is severing ties between companies and employees. Unemployed and furlough paralegals have started or considered freelancing which have added to the increased proportion of the workforce on freelance job platforms. However, many paralegals are turning to freelancing out of necessity, and not by choice. For them it is a way of survival in a recession economy.

    Julia Pollak, a labor economist with the job site ZipRecruiter, says there has been a dramatic shift in job postings on the site from permanent to temporary. Due to the uncertainty of the current economy employers are reluctant to hire permanent workers.

    Zoom, e-signature, and e-notarization are some of the tools that have companies rethinking permanent staff and renewing lease for physical real estate.

    However, even though some paralegals are forced to start virtual/freelance paralegal businesses, research has shown that the vast majority are still looking for permanent, full-time positions that includes benefits such as health care and a steady paycheck.

  • 01 Sep 2020 8:49 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    For most small business owners, trying to stay afloat during a pandemic has come with both ups and downs. The down side, of course, is the slump businesses have seen. On the up side, entrepreneurs were spared the impact of layoffs that many employees suffered. And even if your business hit a low point during the peak of the pandemic, the potential to get back up and running lies in your hands.

    When you’re ready to ramp back up, what you need most is a solid but affordable marketing plan. The goal is to focus on what your customers want right now, while finding cost-effective ways to reach your base and get in front of new faces.

    Expand Your Services

    Some of the most savvy small business owners have responded to the pandemic by getting creative about how they deliver their products or services. One reason this works is because everyone the world over is doing business differently. While in-person shopping and services haven’t gone away, people are continuing to do more business online, even as the pandemic slows. This is one reason why becoming a virtual paralegal is such a smart move for anyone who wants to grow their paralegal or legal assistant business.

    For any business that’s developing a marketing strategy right now, the more value you can offer through virtual services, the more competitive you’ll be. If you run a service-based business, this may mean doing virtual consultations or adding an e-course to your offerings. If you sell a product, you could reach more customers by providing curbside pickup for online orders, expanding physical stores into e-commerce, or starting a subscription service.

    Expanding what you offer is often the most impactful marketing strategy, but it can also be the most expensive. One thing to consider is how you can maximize what you’ve already invested in your business. For example, if you have products that have been purchased, starting a subscription box is a natural expansion that won’t require a large investment. If you still need additional financing, consider applying for small business grants or loans, which you can find from both private and government sources. For example, you may be eligible for an SBA Express Bridge Loan as a quick way to handle the impacts COVID-19 has had on your business.

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