Working at home is no longer limited to low paying piece work, medical billing or transcription, and shady pyramid selling. Thousands of workers each year are making the transition from traditional office jobs to highly skilled, well-paying jobs that can be done from home, or anywhere else. Many telecommuters put in regular, nine-to-five days, while others set their own schedules. A growing number of law firms are hiring both freelancers and full-time employees as researchers, paralegals, and virtual assistants.
Many services performed by paralegals in an office can also be done virtually. Depending on the firm’s needs, a virtual employee or a freelancer can do the research necessary to prepare cases for trial. Researchers may also keep track of developments in the firm’s area of practice. For example, the O’Brien Firm in Buffalo represents clients in personal injury and accident cases. A virtual assistant can search for cases in New York and elsewhere that might be of interest, and forward that information to the firm.
Non-legal research can also be done virtually. This might include tracking down heirs, property owners, or witnesses.
Virtual paralegals can also assist in typing court documents, and even filing documents in courts using online e-filing systems.
Forms for bankruptcy, immigration, and other types of cases may be filled out and forwarded to attorneys for their review.
These services usually require paralegal training, which can also be obtained online through many reputable universities.
No paralegal training is required to handle scheduling for law firms. Most law firms’ websites have virtual chat options, and email links that potential clients may use to request information or set up initial consultations. A potential client who visits the website of Campbell and Associates Law in Rock Hill SC, for example, has the option of initiating an online chat, sending a request by email, or calling the phone number provided. Responding to any of these requests may be done by a virtual assistant. Using shared schedules, an assistant anywhere in the country can pull up an attorney’s daily schedule and set an appointment for a potential client. The phone number provided on a firm’s website may even be set up to forward directly to a virtual employee.
Keeping track of clients’ billing and payments can also be done anywhere. Tasks include sending out payment reminders, calling clients to remind them of payments due, and arranging for installment payments. Virtual bookkeepers can also handle accounts payable for the firm.
Making Travel Arrangements
A common task for virtual assistants is to arrange for flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel details.
As a virtual assistant, you may be called upon to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, edit a video, or organize documents or exhibits to be used in a deposition, settlement conference, or trial. You may prepare databases of the firms’ clients and former clients to be used to check for conflicts of interest.
Many firms publish regular newsletters for their clients, and/or maintain blogs containing information about the firm’s field of practice, as well as other information that clients or potential clients might find interesting. These tasks are well suited for virtual employees or assistants.
Being the best Buffalo personal injury attorneys isn’t enough these days. Law firms that want to attract more clients need to market themselves. Social media presence is an important part of any marketing plan, but managing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts is time-consuming. This type of task is perfect for a virtual assistant.
If you already have paralegal training or work for a law firm, you may be able to convince your employer that you can do your job as efficiently from home, or with a combination of office and telecommuting hours. If you have completed paralegal training and are looking for a flexible work schedule, consider freelancing or looking for virtual employment. Even if you have no paralegal training, but have some of the other skills needed for virtual assisting, you may find freelance or even full-time employment in the legal field. There are hundreds of online job search sites, some free, some requiring paid memberships, and some charging commissions on money earned through the site. Do your research – check the sites’ online reviews, look for interest groups on social media, ask people in the industry, especially before committing to any job search site that costs money.