The Office is Dead: Long Live The Virtual Office


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Marissa Meyer may differ, but we here at Shockwaveriderblog Control Center see the future (as we usually do) – and it’s going to be about low overhead, effective exploitation of technology and greater competitive response.

Whoa, that’s a mouthful; let’s take it through one step at a time.

Welcome to the Realm of the Virtual Office: lean, mean and fast.

This isn’t just about telecommuting (which is old hat anyhow) it’s about saving money, greater response to client needs and all within the context of a secure and ubiquitous records / file service.

The office, as we know it is dead. To be certain, there will always been some operations which will require the obligatory cubicle farms but increasingly, the more successful business folk are those who are able to be more responsive, keep their costs low while yet be able to work their clients, balancing the necessities of picking up their kids from school while maintaining a family household.

Let’s take one sector where the Virtual Office is starting to make serious inroads and have significant impact: law.

Whenever one thinks of law, one thinks of either a) dry, musty offices with tons of obscure legal books, clustered desks, overflowing fax machines and the vague tinge of week old coffee hanging in the air – or b) law office’s ala LA Law – modern flowing offices with smart / spiffy people talking with serious overtones hanging out in court, and then going back to their cluttered desks with bookshelves overflowing with obscure legal books and computers overwhelmed with unanswered emails (well, back in the days of LA Law, they didn’t have email, but you get the idea) and stale coffee.

Who says that it has to be this way any more?

This was a point brought up by Ms. Chelsey Lambert, founder of Virtual Law (http://www.totalattorneys.com) – and well worth considering: “let’s face it; many of the functions that attorneys do nowadays can be readily done remotely and within the context of a secure and responsive environment.”

It’s probably no coincidence that Virtual law or the online delivery of legal services has taken off just at a time when “The Cloud” is now a concept readily embraced by more and more users, both corporate and governmental (witness the Central Intelligence Agency’s move to adopt Amazon’s new cloud storage system as a means to store their own records – for more on this, see my prior blog on this development).

Hey, if it’s good enough for what is arguably the world’s biggest and among the most powerful intelligence services, then why not for your local neighborhood attorney?

Well, except for some states, as Ms. Lambert points out: ‘some places are slow to adopt this new approach – such as New Jersey – but overall, the response among states has been overwhelming and proves that this concept has legs.’ Indeed – and if legs were any indication, this concept of a Virtual Law Office would be akin to an Olympic sprinter after drinking a barrel of expresso. In the past several years, more and more offices are adopting this approach as it returns back to the notion of what an attorney / professional is: it is the person, not the office, which defines the skill set.

Sure, it’s helpful to have an office and a place to dump your junk (so to speak) every once in a while, but when you consider the advantages that a person well-armed with a good, solid laptop, ready Internet access along with good cup of coffee (or tea) that’s really all we’re talking about (that and a competent attorney!).

In the past five years, we’ve witnessed the explosion of iPhone / smartphones; laptops reaching over 1 Gg in storage capacity and tremendous processing speed along with the growing prevalence of wireless access (much of it increasingly free). We’re not just talking about low overhead and a greater response on behalf of the client, we’re talking about a quiet revolution taking place that’s going to impact mainstream businesses everywhere – and in the process may very well go far in stimulating the economy.

And best of all, with this approach, you can have your business and your family, as adopters of this approach are able to work within the context of their lives – which brings up another significant point: the majority of folks making this possible are women. As Ms. Lambert puts it so aptly:

I’d also like to point out that a very rare occurrence happened above. FEMALE attorneys are advancing the legal profession by leaps and bounds. A glimmer of hope within a notoriously male dominated industry is igniting the passion of female lawyers across the country. For the first time, they have the ability to go out on their own, with minimal overhead, work a schedule that accommodates their family, and earn a living from wherever they choose to work.

To give you a better idea what this means, in one example, an attorney residing in North Carolina are practicing law in Texas.

Think about the implication of what this could mean for other industries and for the labor force and the open market as a whole and you’ll start to see the implications.

Growing up in a single parent household, I recall the trials that my mother went through, working in the day and going to night school to learn and attain a skill set which enable her to both improve herself and our living standard: somehow, I’m not surprised that this development is taking place by women – or, as I would suggest, ‘necessity is often made by a mother of invention.’

To learn more about this remarkable and overlooked trend, check out these links below:

Rachel Rodgers, Esq.
Rachel Rodgers Law (Virtual Business Law Practice) http://www.rachelrodgerslaw.com/
Her Virtual Law Office (VLO Consulting Practice) http://hervirtuallawoffice.com/
Fast Company’s latest article –https://ad122.infusionsoft.com/app/linkClick/4003/10c1a41ed98c5ac5/13905/e44c955f2fc8cdc8

Rania Combs, Esq.
Texas Wills & Trusts Online – http://www.texaswillsandtrustslaw.com/
Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/hanisarji/2011/05/05/an-estate-planners-virtual-law-office/

Stephanie Kimbro, Esq.
Original co-founder of VLO Tech, purchased by Total Attorneys in 2009.
virtuallawpractice.org

‘The Big Four’
These are the four leading Legal Cloud Computing / Virtual Law Practice Providers. Each provide a complete client portal, time tracking, billing and various other tools specifically designed to support a virtual client relationship & secure online delivery of legal services.

Clio

MyCase

Rocket Matter

Total Attorneys

Special thanks to Chelsey Lambert for helping out in this article! For more, check out Ms. Lambert’s profile which includes contact information: www.linkedin.com/in/chelseylambert/

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