From the Desk: May 2014

By May 22, 2014 March 4th, 2020 No Comments
In April, we made considerable changes to our website including developing six new videos! I’m excited about the results, and truly enjoyed the fun, creative energy and collaboration involved. Our home page video introduces viewers to me, both personally and as a lawyer. Please take a look and let me know what you think!

As I’ve discussed in my previous newsletters, I’m writing a four-series column for the American Bar Association GP Solo eReport on how to run a virtual office. I hope that this information is helpful to all business owners who operate virtually. The second half of my second column, concerning technology, is set forth below:

The Virtual Truth: Taking on Technology

Tip #3: Rely on Case Management Software

A virtual law firm with staff cannot effectively operate without using case management software. My office uses Time Matters and the accompanying Billing Matters program. In a brick-and-mortar law firm, staff will personally communicate about dozens of daily issues, ranging from the attorneys’ substantive collaboration on a client matter to a request for more paper clips. Case management software provides a virtual law firm with an efficient way to manage these ongoing communications, so as to avoid getting lost in a tangled nightmare of countless email messages, phone calls, and text messages.

Time Matters creates a structure for storing digital client files that accommodates all documents, email, contact records, telephone records (including mp3 files of voice mail messages), mail receipt records, billing records, outstanding tasks, calendar items, and notes involving research and collaboration. Time Matters also provides an internal messengering system, file triggers to track key recurring tasks, and document generation for your firm’s templates; additionally, the most recent version provides an online client web portal. Other brands of case management software provide a varying array of features that might uniquely benefit your virtual model. Case management software provides the cornerstone for enabling staff to work seamlessly in a remote environment, while creating significant time-saving advantages.

Tip #4: Embrace Mobile Technology

To a much greater degree than in a brick-and-mortar law firm, most attorneys and staff choosing to work virtually will not be tied to their desks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For example, on any given work day my office administrator could be watching her daughter’s soccer game, waiting at the car dealership while her car is getting fixed, or visiting family in California. Although I (usually!) know where she is, our clients and other parties with whom she interacts have no knowledge of her physical location. She continually relies on her smartphone, which contains a Time Matters mobile application, and other mobile computing devices in order to do her job. All attorneys and staff who work virtually need to be fully comfortable with smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and willing to use them daily, to create the most appealing options for work-life management while enhancing responsiveness to clients and speedy interoffice communications.

Some virtual lawyers create the illusion that they run their law firms from a physical office, due to fears that they may lose clients as a result of their office setup. On the contrary, in 2014, a well-run virtual law office supported by a solid technological infrastructure will actually attract many potential clients because of the creativity and innovation involved. Invest wisely, from the beginning, in quality equipment and software that supports your firm’s business model, and then be eager to explain to your clients how these investments in technology make you the best lawyer for the job.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!
Stacey Romberg

tops-2014-graphicOn May 6th, as discussed in my April newsletter, the Seattle Foundation held its Give Big 2014 campaign.

The entire campaign raised $12.8 million in 24 hours! I’m so grateful to all of you who made donations as part of that campaign directed toward Tennis Outreach Programs.

We achieved terrific results, and look forward to using those funds wisely to enhance our programs and enable more children to participate. A big thanks to all of you for your “Give Big” efforts!

Recent Updates from Sherry’s Blog

Sherry Lueders184

Throughout the month Sherry Bosse Lueders, who is Of Counsel with my firm, blogs on timely and interesting topics from a legal perspective. Here are a couple of recent posts:
The Final Status Update – Have you ever paused to ponder what happens to your Facebook account when you die?
Tax Day is Over. Let’s Talk About Taxes! – Now that the April 15 tax deadline has passed, it is time to sit back, relax … and talk about the Washington state estate tax?
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