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Bar News - March 23, 2007


Spend More Time Practicing Law, ess Time on Administrative Work

By:

 

If you’re a sole practitioner or work in a small law firm, you may find that you need occasional administrative support on a part-time basis. Working with a virtual assistant (VA) may be just what you are looking for.

 

There are several advantages to working with a VA instead of a full-time, in-house assistant. Because a VA is an independent contractor, there is no need for extra office space or equipment, and no need to pay taxes, insurance or fringe benefits. And, studies have shown that the real cost of hiring and keeping a full-time, in-house assistant is between two and two-and-a-half times the cost of his or her salary. When you work with a VA, the only cost to you is “time on task.” Simply write one check a month, and you’re done.

 

A VA works with clients from his or her home office in an ongoing capacity—sometimes charging hourly, sometimes via retainer—handling various administrative tasks as needed. Because the VA does not work in the client’s office, it is important to note that the relationship between the client and the VA is extremely important. Communication happens via phone, e-mail, fax, and sometimes instant messaging. Documents are shared through email, fax, or through remote programs such as GoToMyPC (http://www.gotomypc.com) or PC Anywhere (http://www.pcanywhere.com). These software programs are generally easy to use, and your VA can help you get set up to work remotely. Also, materials for projects can be sent directly to the VA’s office when necessary; for example, to handle a bulk mailing of brochures.

 

As an attorney you might find that your typical day involves making and answering phone calls and e-mail, scheduling and attending meetings and appointments, court appearances, invoicing clients, and the list goes on. A VA could simplify things for you by keeping your calendar up-to-date, screening your voice mail and e-mail messages, setting up meetings and appointments for you, invoicing your clients, and even sending out greeting cards to your clients, family and friends. All of this allows you the time to handle the most important aspects of growing and maintaining your practice.

 

Allowing a VA to handle these kinds of daily details will allow you the time to focus on what is important to you. To get started working with a VA, there is usually a 30-minute phone consultation, where each party interviews the other to determine if there is a good fit for a working relationship.

 

Your time is valuable. A virtual assistant can give you back time the time you now use for administrative tasks to spend instead on the practice of law.

 

Cindy Morse is a certified administrative professional (CAP) through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and a virtual assistant based in Deerfield. For more information, go to her Web site http://www.virtuallyatyourservice.biz.

 

 

Typical Tasks for a Virtual Assistant

 

Some of the tasks a VA will typically handle include:

  • Invoicing clients
  • Small or bulk mailings
  • Making appointments
  • Keeping your calendar up to date
  • Screening e-mail
  • Handling voice mail and/or email, responding on your behalf
  • Managing contact databases
  • Maintaining your web site
  • Submitting press releases and/or articles
  • Planning meetings
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Internet research
  • Birthday or holiday cards for family/friends/clients
  • Online shopping for client gifts

 

 

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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