Virtual Paralegal Training Center

        VIRTUAL PARALEGAL TRAINING CENTER

Training, Networking & Resources    

 

 Virtual Paralegal Blog

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


Do you have a virtual paralegal question? Ask @VirtPara - and follow us on Twitter.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 
  • 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.

  • 01 Sep 2020 8:48 PM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Reach Customers Where They Are (Online)

    We’ve discussed the need for virtual services since that’s where your customers already are. Meeting a need in the virtual marketplace is only step one, though. You also need a marketing strategy to actually reach those customers. Start by updating your website to include the new services or products you plan on offering. Along with the ideas above, 360 Integral Marketing recommends adding features to your website for improved functionality, such as an easy checkout process.

    Next, focus some of your energy on SEO. Many small business owners spend a fortune on SEO experts because they’re overwhelmed by the prospect of doing it themselves. However, as Search Engine Journal explains, businesses on a budget can boost SEO with a few simple and inexpensive strategies, such as creating valuable blog content, working on Google Analytics, and optimizing your website.

    Communicate With Customers

    Communication is critical for any good relationship, and that includes customer relationships! You’ve started by boosting your own website - now take that a step further by building relationships through social media. Along with engaging on your social channels, Forbes recommends asking customers for reviews, which is a free alternative to advertising that gets you noticed.

    With all of these communications strategies, remember that the message you send now makes a difference in how your brand is perceived. Business 2 Community suggests being empathetic in your messaging, and then communicating how you can help through these trying times.

    What people want more than anything right now is reassurance - along with solutions to the unique problems they face. The end goal with any marketing plan is to find your ideal client and meet them where they are. That means finding them online, making connections, and forming relationships that last for the long haul.

    Photo credit: Pixabay

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 

Share this Page

Disclaimer: There is no express or implied warranty given.

The Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ is not a law firm and is prohibited by law to give any legal advice. Any & All products & services published by VPTC are solely for informational purposes. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ is not a Paralegal School. We cannot assist you in getting a paralegal certification or degree.

References made to third parties are based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable but are not guaranteed as being accurate. Users should not regard it as a substitute to consulting expert advice. Opinions expressed on VPTC are subject to change without notice and the Virtual Paralegal Training Center ™ (“VPTC”) is not under any obligation to update or keep current the information contained herein.

Our comments are an expression of opinion. While we believe our statements, links and referral to be true, they always depend on the reliability of their own credible sources. We recommend that you consult with licensed, legal or financial advisers before making any decisions. Also, you should use this information as you see fit, and at your own risk. Your situation may not be exactly suited to the examples illustrated here; in fact, it's likely that they won't be the same, and you should adjust your use of the information and recommendations accordingly.

None of VPTC products & services are intended to replace common sense, legal, financial or other professional advice, and is meant to inform the reader. All products are only for personal use. Retransmission, redistribution, or any other commercial use is prohibited. This includes reposting form to another site offering free legal or other document forms for download.

Your use of VPTC products & services constitutes your acceptance of these terms and your agreement to hold VPTC, its officers, employees and any contributors to VPTC harmless for any damage you might incur from their products & services If you do not agree to the above terms, please do not proceed.


©Virtual Paralegal Training Center™

Training, Networking & Resources (TNR)

http://www.virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com

inbox@virtualparalegaltraining.com

Subscribe to virtual paralegal newsletter

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management