We analyzed 2,369,405 data points to discover how virtual office services can support solo lawyers and small firms
We analyzed 2,369,405 data points over hundreds of studies to discover how virtual office services can support solo lawyers, freelance lawyers, and small legal offices. Specifically, we sought to investigate the uses, benefits, and detriments of using virtual services for small firms and solo or freelance lawyers.
Methods, procedures, and references for this study can be found in the Methods and Procedures PDF.
The findings are intriguing, so let’s get right into the numbers:
Our key findings are as follows:
- Starting/expanding a virtual small firm saves $20k-50K over brick-and-mortar equivalents; medium firms save up to $250K
- Working from home and using a virtual assistant can save up to 4 billable hours per day
- Solo lawyers and small firms say virtual office solutions protect their privacy, increases networking, and retains support staff
- 86% of low- and no-income households have inadequate or no legal counsel – a huge potential market
Starting/expanding a virtual small firm saves $20k-50K; savings of 250K+ for medium firms
When contemplating a solo business or small firm startup, first things first: cost. Starting an in-person setup, you can expect to spend between $20,000 to $50,000. If you’re upgrading a medium firm, the cost can exceed $250,000 (Maslow, 2022).
45-50% of these costs are due to office expenses: rent, electricity, employee salaries, waste disposal, and office supplies (Meunier, 2021). Expanding or starting up using a virtual office can offer significant cost saving measures.
Using rentable, shared office space saves 30% over long term office space leases (Sossman, 2022).
Virtual Offices and Assistants Save 4+ Billable Service Hours/Day
First off, Virtual Customer Assistants (VCAs or CSAs) can handle five times more call volume than you can (Ali, 2021). Having a virtual assistant saves you 2+ hours per day in handling customer inquiries, coordinating calendar appointments, and scheduling follow-ups (Roemer, 2021).
Additionally, having no commute can save you around another 2 hours per day. Therefore, by outsourcing customer service and working from home, you have an extra 4+ hours of billable services every day (Roemer, 2021).
In a study of 600 senior managers, 100% said their virtual assistants were essential, and 64% said that they saved them money (Krat, 2022).
If you’re looking to hire an assistant, an entry level applicant with no experience generally asks $10.25+ per hour, or around $20K per year. If you want someone with executive, high-level experience in the law field, you’ll be forking over $90K+ per year (Glassdoor, 2022). However, using our highly talented live receptionists starts at only $125 per month.
What other solos and small firms have to say
In a study conducted by clio.com of 4,776 solo lawyers, 82% said they had no commercial office space. In the same study, 88% said more automation would better serve their clients, 86% said advanced technology significantly betters the client’s experience, and 52% said advanced technology improves their work/life balance (Clio, 2020).
Having an office presence is also a huge benefit. Solos report that it looks more professional to have an office space. It also protects their personal safety, as having your home phone number and address publicly available can expose threats of crime and violence. Having the option to go into a dedicated office space can help productivity by getting away from distractions, as well as putting work away when you get back home (Meunier, 2021).
Something that may be surprising about shared offices is that it increases networking opportunities. Having access to so many different professionals automatically increases the number of people you interact with who may seek the advice of a lawyer (Sossman, 2022).
Another benefit to having a hybrid model over a traditional practice is that it’s hard to retain support staff and new-to-the-field lawyers who have so many options. An introverted legal aid may prefer to work from home, while an extroverted first-time lawyer would much rather have the socialization of a shared office (Roemer, 2021).
86% of Low- or No-Income Households Have Inadequate Legal Counsel
Any lawyer, whether as a solo or in a huge firm, knows that anticipating their clients’ needs is of critical importance. In the Clio study cited above, 6,125 members of the general public were also included in the study. Nearly 80% of respondents cited needing remote options to meet their needs (Clio, 2020).
In 2017, the Legal Services Corporation conducted a study of 2000 adults classified as low or no income. Of these individuals, 86% reported inadequate or no legal counsel. 71% of this group also reported having at least one civil legal problem (LSC, 2017).
Having affordable office solutions allows you to take on more clients for lower fees while still retaining more profits. Gathering a portion of that 86% who would otherwise have no legal representation is not only a moral thing to do, but also allows for more income. Word of mouth among other no and low-income households combined with targeted advertising will go a long way to building a solid reputation and a profitable firm.
We hope this study has helped inform you of how virtual office solutions impact solo lawyers, freelance lawyers, and small law firms.
If you’d like to know how we came to our conclusions or check our sources, please take a look at our Methods and Procedures document.
Are you a solo lawyer, freelance lawyer, work in a small firm, or want to start working in one of these environments? Please reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or contact us directly for more information.