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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of June 2, 2015

LawBiz(r) newsletter

The pundits said there are two constants: death and taxes. There is much more when people will do what they can/need to do to get power and to retain power. Lance Armstrong was perhaps the most dominant and arrogant cyclist of recent miscreants. We also see the NFL (child and spousal abuse) and FIFA making news in sports. Politicians and lobbyists galore join the ranks of high profile alleged miscreants including former Illinois Representative and Speaker of the House. No wonder the legal "spend" continues to grow. It takes lawyers to investigate the miscreants, prosecute them and then defend them.

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Virtual Assistants: Virtually Perfect Outsourcing

Disaster and recovery planning can be traumatic, and current staff members may be unable to handle the increased demands. Enter virtual assistants (Vas).

VAs are paralegals or other administrative specialists who work off-site and online, creating work product to your specifications and tailored to your practice. Technology allows access to such services without hiring a person to work full-time on your payroll. As independent business owners, Vas are neither employees nor subordinates. They more closely resemble accountants or any other business consultants with whom the lawyer has an ongoing, collaborative relationship. VAs become familiar with your practice and attuned to your business needs as much as any service provider engaged for a substantial length of time.

VAs should be selected like any other professional service provider. Such criteria as a business track record stretching at least three years, an informative and well-constructed website, and adequate professional references should be givens. And, of course, don't make your final selection without the benefit of an interview, in person or by telephone. Beyond these business considerations, think through the professional qualifications that you want from the VA. A paralegal should have credentials from an accredited educational institution and knowledge of local rules regarding court and civil procedures, in addition to practical insights pertinent to your practice. Depending on your needs, a VA paralegal can be expected to prepare documents for various proceedings (summons, complaints, and motions), summarize depositions, and conduct research. An administrative VA should demonstrate the ability to organize documents and chronologies and to create and maintain client files.

A VA should be able to conduct all of these activities electronically from a remote location. Effective electronic integration is a must.

Using the VA outsourcing strategy can give a lawyer the best of all solutions to the need for help. You get a professional team member, selected to your criteria, attuned to the business and professional needs of your practice. You are relieved of the cost (and potential inability) that in-house staff can represent, and you also gain more time for client representation and business development activities.


Virtual Assistants: Virtually Perfect Outsourcing

LawBiz® Registry: Buy or Sell Your Practice

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Buy or Sell Your Practice 

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"Ed Poll created and presented your three-day workshop "Starting, Operating, Growing and Profiting from the Practice of Law" for our Law School, the Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Washington Law School Foundation. Ed's professional management skills and presentation talents provided our alumni and students with an outstanding program. The evaluations, both oral and written, were excellent and demonstrated that his audience agreed. One evaluator was particularly appreciative of the thought-provoking and interesting new concepts. Another said, "I have a much better understanding of what I'm to do -- I'm energized. Thank you!" Ed had a major impact on the future of our attendees; this is a unique quality and we are most appreciative of his efforts to create such an interesting and informative program. I enjoyed working with him and look forward to doing so again."

John F. Rapp
Director, CLE
University of Washington

"Ed Poll's efforts resulted in the success of our Mid Year CLE Program event. During the planning stages of this Mid Year Program, the Section's leadership indicated that if 75 lawyers attended the program, it would be considered a success. With our program attendance at over 100 attendees, the leadership clearly is very pleased with our efforts and want to continue bringing programs to the solo and small firm practitioner. We look forward to this challenge of making the Mid Year Program a regular event."

Lee S. Kolczun, Chair
Sole Practitioners and Small Firms Committee
American Bar Association


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