Stop Making This Time-Wasting Mistake Savvy Firm Owners Avoid

This article was contributed by Emily LaRusch, Founder of Back Office Betties, a boutique receptionist and intake company exclusively serving small law firms. She has an insatiable thirst for learning and is the happiest coaching and collaborating within the entrepreneurial community. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Associated Press, BBC News and serves as an educator for Inmates to Entrepreneurs.

Former COO of 800-GOT-JUNK, Cameron Herold, once told me, “If you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant.” Your time has value. Is the most efficient use of it in doing administrative tasks? Definitely not, especially if you’re sacrificing billable hours to do it. The best thing about a virtual legal assistant is you can scale up or down in hours without making a full-time commitment.  

Virtual legal assistants provide the support you need in many areas of your business.

Client and Potential Client Management

How much of your time is spent following and managing leads? Your VA can take much of this work off your plate. Examples of how they can help include:

  • Client Communication. A virtual assistant can handle client communication for you, via e-mail and via incoming and outgoing phone calls.
  • Email Management. Being tied to your e-mail account can disrupt your entire day. A VA can filter through these messages for you, respond to inquiries, and ensure that the only e-mails you’re dealing with are the ones that actually need your attention.
  • CRM Management. CRM programs give us the ability to collect a huge amount of information about our clients in one spot. But they’re time-consuming to manage. Your VA can take care of that for you.
  • PNC Outreach. How much of your time is spent trying to find new clients? Much of that work can be outsourced to your VA.
  • Lead Qualification. When it comes to leads, quality matters. Your VA can qualify leads for you and present you with leads for the type of clients you’re looking for.
  • Detailed Client Intakes. You or your staff probably spend a lot of time gathering all the information you need during client intake. Your VA can handle that, as well.

Schedule Management

  • Calendar Management. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to fit everything into your calendar. A VA can set up and maintain a process that really works for you.
  • Appointment Reminders. Appointment reminders go a long way toward making sure that your clients show up on time. You can assign them to your VA and no longer have to worry about them.

Client Billing

Billing takes up a huge chunk of time. A virtual assistant can help with billing, accounts receivable, and following up on late payments. This can often be one of the easiest ways to incorporate a VA into your business, and you’ll feel the benefit of it almost immediately.

Project Management

It’s an understatement to say that your firm likely generates a lot of paperwork. It’s vital that this paperwork is processed and stored properly by someone who knows the regulations associated with it. Here’s how your VA can help:

  • Document Management. Whether you have a separate document management/matter management system or whether you use another method to store and associate files, a VA can help with organization and maintenance.
  • Process Documentation. Process documentation can be vital to reducing your workload. Establishing time-saving workflows starts with documenting individual processes, and a VA can help you with this.

Where Can I Find a Virtual Legal Assistant?

Here are three options to get you started on your search:

  • Back Office Betties: Full disclosure — this is us! We hire US-based VAs with firm experience. Our VAs are amazing at executing your vision.
  • Trusty Oak: Their US-based VAs have a variety of specialized skills such as email marketing, social media management, bookkeeping, content creation, and podcasting production. We used Trusty Oak to pair us with a part-time HR Manager. Stephanie is mind-blowingly efficient, fun, and a perfect culture match. After a year or so, we brought her on full-time, and she is a beloved team member! 
  • Get Staffed Up: Founded by a lawyer for lawyers. They offer full-time offshore virtual assistants to help run your firm for a fraction of the price.
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