Check out my article in the November issue of the ABA GP/Solo & Small Firm Technology eReport: Setting Up a Web-based Virtual Law Office. From the article:
Consumers are actively seeking more affordable and convenient access to legal services over the Internet. Due to the cost of traditional legal services, they are turning to cutting and pasting together sample online legal documents or purchasing cheap legal forms online without the benefit of attorney review. The economic recession has further hastened this trend. To address consumer demand, more attorneys are opening web-based virtual law offices (VLOs) or adding a VLO to an existing traditional law firm structure to deliver legal services to clients online.
There are different ways to define and structure a virtual law practice. Simply put, a virtual law practice is a professional law practice where an attorney is able to work with clients over the Internet through a secure portal from the establishment of the attorney/client relationship through to the payment of and final rendering of legal services. The technology used to create and maintain a VLO is a software as a service (SaaS) hosted system, often referred to as practicing law “in the cloud.” To set up a virtual law practice, an attorney should be aware of a number of practical and ethical considerations discussed below.