An attorney may provide unbundled legal services with a virtual law office as the sole method of delivering legal services to clients, or a virtual law practice may be added to an existing law office as an amenity to in-person client or as a method of pulling in additional revenue from a separate online client base.
There is a great deal of flexibility in the way that a virtual law practice may be structured to provide unbundled services online.
As an example of how unbundling online might work, an attorney whose practice centers on litigation may use a virtual law practice to generate additional client revenue by answering basic traffic ticket questions while maintaining a full-service litigation practice. The same attorney might use the virtual law practice technology to provide homepages to existing clients that he or she meets with and allow those clients to pay bills online, communicate with a more secure method than email and use the virtual law office as an amenity to the full-service firm. However, the attorney may chose not to use the technology to handle his or her litigation clients.
Another example might be an attorney who decides to enter retirement from a full-service law firm by creating a virtual law practice that handles only transactional legal services, such as drafting estate. This would allow the attorney to work remotely or from home allowing him or her to ease into retirement or create a completely new online law practice that allows for a better work/life balance.
Similar to full-service representation, the attorney must use his or her judgment on a case by case basis when deciding whether he or she may competently provide unbundled legal services online. If the client’s needs would be better suited to a firm providing full-service representation, then it is the attorney’s responsibility to refer the online client to another practice.
Next up: Avoiding Malpractice Risks When Providing Online Unbundled Legal Services
(photo: Sheila Steele)