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September 24, 2013 Practice Points

The Virtues of Going Virtually Solo

By Virginia Sierra

In the Financial Post article titled "The rise of the sole practitioner," author Jim Middlemiss discusses solo practice with David Thompson and Mike Seto, both of whom run their own virtual office. Without a physical, standing office location, these attorneys are granted flexibility not afforded to those in a large firm, even a bit more than those solo practitioners with a brick-and-mortar office. With a virtual office, many of the aspects of the practice are flexible, including hours and location. Both Thompson and Seto discuss the benefits of meeting at their clients' offices, in the clients' own "environment."  This strategy, which saves the client not only money but precious time as well, is easily appealing in this cost-sensitive economy. It is not simply the clients that are cost-sensitive, however. Cutting costs and limiting overhead are key topics in this article as well.

Today's technology makes it ever easier to become a solo practitioner. Your computer can now do many things that required an entire staff in the past—accounting, billing, word processing, even virtual meetings. Without having to carry the cost of a fully staffed office, solo practitioners are still able to compete with large firms. The volume of clients may be less, but the quality of the work does not have to suffer.  Seto also mentions that technology makes clients more "sophisticated" as well. They know exactly what they want, they have done their research, and they are going to find an attorney who can execute for them.

Whether you meet in a local boardroom, a coffee shop or through the screen of your computer, be aware of costs—costs for yourself and costs for your client. Keep your overhead low, your clients' costs down, and your business virtually booming.

Keywords: litigation, solo practitioners, small firms, virtual office, cutting costs, overhead costs, technological advances

Virginia Sierra is with Cohen Kennedy Dowd & Quigley, P.C., in Phoenix, Arizona.

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