The ABA Journal published an online article today about the progress that Virtual Law Partners (VLP) has made in recruiting attorneys from large law firms. One of the reasons for the growth is the downturn in the economy and large law firm layoffs. The beneficial reasons cited for the move to a virtual law firm by the former BigLaw attorney include having to put in fewer billable hours for the same return in client revenue and he was able to take with him the majority of his clients and continue to work with them remotely.
VLP has an interesting structure for a virtual law practice because each attorney in the virtual firm works independently, but all of the attorneys pool resources as a single network. I’m not clear on the actual technology and security they use to work remotely with each other or with their clients. However, it will be interesting to see how their network holds up as it continues to grow and add attorneys.
From their example, solos and small firms can see the benefits of practicing law online and how this option can be available for an attorney who may never have been interested in working for a large large firm. It does not take the infrastructure of a brick and mortar law office with a huge staff and a fortune in marketing and advertising to be able to provide quality legal services to the public online. As the way of the future, virtual law practice will allow the solo practitioner and small firm to really compete on the same level and to form the same online and social networks as attorneys who formerly worked for BigLaw. It’s already happening on a small level and will continue to grow as the technology remains affordable and allows for increased attorney collaboration. The playing field is leveling off.