March 22, 2017 business of law

The Virtual Practice of Law

By Daniel S. Wittenberg

Technology provides attorneys with unparalleled opportunities to provide legal assistance from anywhere in the world at any time of day. In fact, a significant number of lawyers are implementing virtual law offices, while others are considering whether a virtual law practice would be appropriate for them. The benefits of a virtual practice attracting lawyers include reduced costs, savings in time, and a resulting positive work-life balance.

A significant number of lawyer are implementing virtual law offices to reduce costs, save time, and create a better work-life balance

A significant number of lawyer are implementing virtual law offices to reduce costs, save time, and create a better work-life balance

Getty Images

But what is a virtual law practice—what are its defining characteristics, and why go virtual? Lawyers continually leverage technology to provide clients with efficient, prompt, and high-quality service regardless of their location. In doing so, attorneys are able to reduce the confines of a traditional bricks-and-mortar practice in favor of delivering service in a way that makes sense to them. Whether sitting in a mountain cabin, waiting for an airplane, hanging out in a beachside bungalow, or sitting at the kitchen table, the notion of virtual law practice continues to gain popularity.

The definition of a virtual law practice can differ depending on who is asked. A virtual practice can range from "a multi-lawyer, multi-jurisdiction law firm that engages in full-service representation to a solo practitioner who interacts with clients online, providing limited scope services," according to Chad Burton, chair of the ABA Law Practices Division's Futures Initiative. "The focus of a virtual practice is about introducing and enhancing the concept of 'mobility' into the lawyer client relationship—both for the lawyer and the client," adds Burton.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now