For the past couple of years, I have kept my VLO open through the holidays. I can log in remotely and check the case queue while traveling or on vacation so it’s not a problem to keep up with my self-imposed response policy. The VLO sends a notice to let me know when there is any activity from a client or a new prospective client has registered. That’s how I know when to log back in and check the queue or a client’s case file.
My VLO is open 24/7. When I started my online practice almost three years ago, I decided that I would respond to each request for legal services within 24 hours of the request being posted on my VLO case queue. That doesn’t mean I complete the legal services requested in 24 hours, just that I respond to the online prospective or existing client in some way to let them know that I am paying attention. The VLO sends out a notice to the client if they want email updates to let them know that I have received their message, but I prefer to respond in a more personal manner to each client.
But this year I need a couple days off. How do attorneys practicing law with a web-based VLO close up the virtual office door to take a break? Well, I won’t need to prohibit clients or prospective clients from contacting me on the VLO. What I do need is to provide them with notice that I will not be reading or responding to their requests for a couple days.
There is the typical auto-responder that most law offices use that will tell each person who logs into my VLO that I am out of the virtual law office and when I will return. I could also post a sign on the front of my VLO login and register page that tells any online clients and prospective clients that they may request legal services but that I will be unable to respond for a few days.
For attorneys with completely virtual law practices or for those attorneys whose clients are used to contacting them outside of typical business hours, how do you let your clients know when you need or want to take a few days off?