VIRTUAL LAW OFFICES GAINING POPULARITY IN INTERNET AGE
If you are a subscriber to the Hull & Hull LLP Toronto Estate Law Blog, you know that I am a relative newcomer to the blogging world. What you couldn’t know is that I’m also a late convert to all things wireless and virtual.
My life is, for the most part, hard-wired. I still have a land line. I’m ashamed to admit that my printer is connected to my laptop by a cable. I insist on sending old-fashioned ‘snail-mail’ letters to friends and family, and when I’m throwing a party, I send a paper invitation!
I could go on ad nauseum, but you get my point: my life is not really organized by way of wireless technologies and virtual realities.
However, I’m intrigued by the idea of organizing my life, at least my work life, virtually. I was, therefore, drawn to the article in the September 3, 2010 issue of Lawyers Weekly with the above-captioned title.
The article was written by Luigi Benetton and he suggested that adding a virtual office to the physical office can, potentially, expand the market of a firm. According to the American Bar Association eLawyering Task Force, a virtual firm is “characterized by access by the firm’s clients to a password protected and secure web space where both the attorney and the client may interact and legal services are consumed by the client.” This type of lawyering, where the traditionally face-to-face meeting is not always necessary, certainly does create an additional medium for firms to connect with clients.
Hull & Hull LLP joined this virtual world in June 2008 when it launched an e-office on Second Life, a popular internet based virtual world created entirely by its residents. The office is used as an alternative medium to provide useful information for those seeking our firm’s expertise.
While there are benefits of elawyering in terms of client service, there are pitfalls that make the virtual office a difficult reality. Our managing partner, Suzana Popovic-Montag, noted in the above-captioned article that elawyering is not well suited for every area of law and, by way of explanation, she noted that elawyering is “more difficult when you have litigation matters. There’ll still be examinations for discovery and court appearances, plus law society requirements to prove that clients are who they say they are.”
In the end, it seems that my hard-wired life style is not at risk of becoming obsolete any time soon. Rather, virtual mediums are proving to provide our firm with an additional platform for clients to connect with us and access important legal services.
Thanks for reading!
Kathryn Pilkington – Click here for more information on Kathryn Pilkington.