Question: What is a Virtual Paralegal?
Answer: A Virtual Paralegal is a paralegal who performs his or her work responsibilities from a remote or “virtual” location. They can work from home or from any other place, as long as they have access to a phone, computer, and internet connection. They correspond with their clients, who are lawyers, via email, Zoom, phone, and through programs designed for use by law firms.
Question: What can a Virtual Paralegal do?
Answer: Virtual Paralegals can manage the administrative and paper side of a case from start to finish – client intake, drafting correspondence, drafting court filings, scheduling depositions, document review, legal research, filing documents with the courts, and serving as a remote testimony witness for telephone hearings.* They can maintain your docket and manage routine client communications. All the things that go into the background of a case.
*Notaries are the ideal candidates for this role because they are state-appointed public officials whose duty is to serve as impartial witnesses to any number of transactions. Identifying signers and administering oaths and affirmations are also part of their duties.
It’s not cost-effective for you to spend the majority of your time as an office manager or managing your deposition calendar. You didn’t go to law school to create template discovery responses; you went to law school to provide justice for your clients. Let technology’s flexibility work in your favor and give that work to a virtual paralegal.
Question: What are the Benefits of a Virtual Paralegal?
Answer: A Virtual Paralegal provides all the same support you can get from a paralegal in your office and they can do it without the added overhead of insurance premiums, tax withholding and office space, saving your practice over 60% of the cost of an employee .
They can do it on a case-by-case basis for niche skills and unusual cases; they can supplement your in-house staff or you can have them on retainer. Moreover, firms can recoup the costs of the paralegal by billing the client for their hours, provided they include such services in their fee agreements and the time billed is work that would otherwise be performed by an attorney.
Virtual Paralegals are an excellent asset to attorneys for two reasons, time and money:
Time – Attorneys who work at small firms or are self-employed do not need a full-time paralegal. Instead of having a paralegal commute to the office on a varying weekly schedule, lawyers connect with their virtual paralegal at the click of a button. It’s convenient for both parties and saves money, which brings me to my next point.
Money – Contracting is cost-effective. Hiring a full-time traditional paralegal can cost around $43,000 (or more) annually due to salary, benefits, and office equipment, depending on where you live. Contracted virtual paralegals work with attorneys on an as-needed basis. Therefore, they rarely work full-time or receive benefits from their employer.