I am updating the second edition to the Virtual Law Practice book that I wrote back in 2010. The book needs to be almost completely re-written based on the way that technology has changed since I wrote about the set up of online delivery in law firms only four years ago.
I am expanding the book to include my newer experiences working with law firms and lawyers to integrate online delivery of legal services into different law firm business models. Over the past four years, I’ve taught law school courses on the subject of virtual practice and related topics, such as unbundling of legal services and law practice management. Some of the content and material from my courses will end up in the text of the updated edition of the book.
At the time of writing the first edition, I was very focused on the idea of completely virtual law offices, mostly operated by solos or small firms. However, since then, I’ve worked with so many varieties of business models that use technology to deliver online services that I realized I need to expand the book to include these different models. In many cases, in terms of economic success, these other methods of delivering online services seem to be more successful than the purely virtual law office model.
In terms of statistics and specific data about the operation and success of any form of virtual practice, we still have very little concrete information to share. Companies like Clio and MyCase may gather useful information on the use of their systems to help with their marketing campaigns to lawyers. However, no one else seems to be able to gather data on how many lawyers deliver legal services online, what tools they use, how it integrates with traditional delivery models, who their customers are, and any success they may or may not be having. I have my personal experience and that of my colleagues in elawyering working with many law firms and lawyers to create virtual law practices. Perhaps in the future as more lawyers add unbundled, online legal services to their offerings, the state bars will assist in collecting this data. For the second edition, I will try to locate more statistics that might be useful in helping practitioners determine what the risks and benefits are of the different models of delivery.
I’m going to spend the next two months finishing up this second edition and then turn my focus back to the work on my fellowship at Stanford Law School with the Center on the Legal Profession. I am attending the GSummit event in San Francisco next week to learn more about gamification and games and to think of ways to apply this form of increased online engagement to the legal profession and to serving the public.
If anyone who read the original book would like to make suggestions about anything that you would like to see me cover in this updated edition, please let me know. Thanks and I look forward to having new content to share on this blog and elsewhere in the very near future!