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Blog, Cloud-based software, Uncategorized

Is Working in the Cloud Your New Normal

Working in the cloud has become the new normal.  As a virtual assistant using cloud-based programs has also become my new normal.  Fact is, I love being able to access my files from anywhere, anytime on any mobile device or computer with an internet connection.  Life happens and with me being the mother of seven, everyday I wake up it’s a new challenge.  Being a mom first is what satisfies my soul the most and I love being able to go on field trips with my kids and be an active part of their lives which is why I decided to start my own business in the first place.  Not having to be at the office in front of my computer gives me freedom and flexibility to be that supermom and business woman I was destined to be. This same principal applies to you and your solo practice. I mean let’s face it, attorneys are supermoms and superdads first and then attorneys and this same sense of freedom is why you decided to be go into practice for yourself, right?

I am helping a solo attorney start a virtual practice and thought this information would be useful.

It is estimated that solo attorneys spend almost 50% of their time on things other than practicing law.  Reality is that in order to earn the type of money as a solo attorney that you would being an associate at an actual firm and to feel like it is worth continuing in a solo practice you need to dedicate at least 90% of that time actually practicing law.  Running a solo practice can be awesome, but it is not for everyone.  

Before starting my VA business I worked in an brick and mortar law firm for many years as an assistant to two partners who dedicated timeless hours to building their practice.  There are a lot of nuts and bolts that make the wheels turn for a successful practice like client intake, accounting, reporting, marketing, etc.  As you know, one of the most important aspects in the practice other than keeping your overhead low is having a good case management system.

Cloud-based practice management software offers several benefits that help lower costs, provide transparency to clients and streamline communication. Cloud-based practice management software can provide all you need to run a law practice from intake to invoice.  Some of the features include managing cases, clients, documents, appointments, bills, time-tracking, reporting and accounting.  There are many different ones out there and they vary in their compatibility as far as the features offered.  When selecting a case management program, determine your needs first this will save you on trial and error.  However, most offer free, no obligation 30-day trials so you can try different ones before actually making the choice on which works best for your practice.  If you decide that you like that particular solution you can make monthly payments instead of making large investments up front.  

As an attorney you understand that laws and regulations change and how important it is to stay on top of those changes. Cloud-based law practice management software stays up-to-date on those changes and allows your practice to remain compliant with the latest regulations.

The internet is full of information on cloud-based law practice management software. This article I thought was really useful and it gives you a comparisons on the different softwares.  https://jurispage.com/2013/law-practice-management/the-best-law-firm-case-management-software-an-in-depth-comparison/

If you have suggestions on the different software or have comments please feel free to share!

 

 

 

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Blog, Legal Services, Uncategorized

6 Amazing Stats That Prove LinkedIn is Important for Lawyers [Infographic] | Law Firm Suites

LinkedIn is currently one of the fastest growing social media platforms. If you think your ideal client isn’t using LinkedIn, then you are certainly wrong.

Professionals are signing up for an account at a rate of more than 2 members per second. It is more than likely that there are quite a few people out of the millions on LinkedIn who could be a potential client or referral source.

As more and more people create profiles every day, lawyers have an unprecedented opportunity to connect online with people in their target market.

Source: 6 Amazing Stats That Prove LinkedIn is Important for Lawyers [Infographic] | Law Firm Suites

Blog, Uncategorized

Blogging: To Do or Not to Do – That is the Question?

“I just don’t have time to blog” I have heard business owners say time and time again. I am also guilty of saying this myself.  What is blogging? How do I blog? I am a small business owner, how could blogging help me?  This mindset or just the question/answer process might keep a business owner from choosing to blog. Ultimately, the choice to “not blog” for someone who has never blogged before or even someone already running an established business just seems like the right thing to do.  Mainly because let’s face it, learning to do something new in an already overwhelming situation is just torture and becomes frustrating.  I mean think about it, you are already overwhelmed by all the issues of running the business, finding new clients, marketing, coming up with fresh ideas, and the list goes on and on.  I mean who really has time to blog?  Well that answer is simple, you do!   

Fact is, BLOGGING IS MARKETING, marketing means more customers and more customers mean more money!  Blogging is an inexpensive way to gain visibility for your business.  How is that possible?  Well, blogging helps drive traffic to your website which means more opportunity for you to show up in search engines like Google and, the more traffic to your website means more exposure to potential clients.  Social media is a wonderful platform for blogging as well.  Every time you write a blog post, the information that you share to the world is now available for your social media connections to share with their connections which helps expose your business to a new audience.  Social media has endless possibilities for exposure!  

For those business owners that are just full of information in their field, then blogging is definitely for you.  Blogging is basically creating and sharing useful and/or helpful information.  In other words, putting what you know on paper and sharing it with millions.  How does that benefit me?  Hands down, it makes you look like an “expert in your field” or the “go to” person.  I mean who doesn’t want to look as important as they really are in the eyes of millions.  The real question to ask yourself should be  “how does that benefit others?” Blogging will allow you to write about issues your clients or potential clients are dealing with and gives them a solution to their madness.  You can provide information or solve issues in a way that prospective clients can understand and offer some insight they wouldn’t find unless they sought professional help from an expert in that field. Well, they already have an expert in that field YOU!

To do or not to do?  Definitely do.  Blogging has many advantages and for me not only has it been a great marketing tool it has been an awesome filter and be very fulfilling.  I mean really, all that knowledge in your mind could benefit a lot of people so don’t keep it to yourself, share!  Blog for goodness sake!

 

Legal Services, Uncategorized

Solo Attorney Burnout: Tips to help you gain control of your business practice so you can put more focus on practicing law

download (1)Solo attorneys work harder to gain the clientele, respect and reputation as that of an established law firm or an associate of that established firm.  Balancing clients and family while keeping their business running smoothly can be overwhelming and stressful.  Common mistakes that most solo attorneys have that are often overlooked but ultimately cost them money are properly tracking time, maintaining their reputation and networking using social media.  Here are some tips that will help you deal with some common mistakes made as a solo attorney.

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Properly Tracking Time.  When working for a firm it is required that you track your time on a weekly basis and it becomes habit that you track your time after you deal with each client as a general practice.  As a solo, you are so overwhelmed with wearing the many hats needed to operate a law practice like tasks associated with that of being a paralegal, secretary, runner, receptionist and attorney that you tend to wait until you have time to write down what work you did on each case.  Without tracking time properly you are likely losing money.  Your time is how you bill clients and how you get paid.  Your bread and butter.  There are programs that allow you to develop a timekeeping system that are ultimately free tools like Google Calendar and iTimeKeep. There are also programs like Freshbooks that will allow you to track time, bill and invoice clients as well as keep up with business expenses.

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Reputation.  As a solo attorney trying to make your mark in this big world, your reputation is very important.  How you are viewed in the legal community can either make you or break you.  Reputation although very important seems like something minor for a solo attorney since it is the last thing on their mind;  being overwhelmed and stressed by wearing many hats trying to be successful with their practice.  It is important that solo attorneys be mindful of how they present themselves and how they treat others. Word of mouth is a good marketing tool and could determine if you get a referral or if you get smashed by competition.  This same word of mouth can reach potential client who in turn chooses another attorney.  Don’t forget the importance of reputation.  If you could get on top of all the tasks associated with running the business you can focus more time and energy on being an attorney and handling your clients needs as well as being the best you that you can be.

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Social Media/Online Presence.  Social media has become a vital part of networking and building a business. Use it to market your practice, make connections and gain potential clients. People are relying on social media to make decisions.  Same is true when deciding which attorney or law firm to use.  The first step most people do is to go to the internet and search for that attorney.  They want to find out about that attorney like what are their interests, what articles have they posted, what types of groups do they belong to, how much information they know (blogs), how professional are they (online presence) and what are people saying about them (reviews).  Having an online presence also gives clients a platform to brag and give feedback about you which helps build reputation.  It is time-consuming to juggle social media sites, post blogs and interact with potential clients and colleagues.  Your online presence is a reflection of you and your business.  It is as much a part of your professional image as the clothes you wear. There are programs like Hootsuite and Every Post that manage social media sites in that it allows you to post to all your social media sites from one place, as well as write blogs and schedule when you want them to post.

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Solution!                                                                 

Running a business takes a lot of hard work and dedication; add trying to practice law and be the best attorney in your field which requires just as much hard work and dedication, and that’s where the problem arises.  Two major careers and only one YOU!  The solution is simple, outsource!  Outsourcing for attorneys has become as common as hiring an in-house secretary.  The fact is that every solo attorney needs someone to handle the everyday things like screening calls, scheduling meetings with new clients, tracking time, billing clients, typing letters, scheduling court reporters, drafting pleadings and making sure that those pleadings are free of errors and filed with the courts upon your approval and social media management.  All the tasks that are overwhelming to a solo attorney or a law firm for that matter that require a big chunk of time and as a end result contributes to being overwhelmed and ultimately losing money!