I began my virtual law practice in April 2012, with my site officially going live in June. Having spent much of the past year writing content for my website, enhancing and building upon my legal knowledge, learning the ins-and-outs of social media marketing, and networking with other professionals, I have truly come to appreciate the dedication and persistence of entrepreneurs.
For some people, entrepreneurship and risk-taking come easily. They have a vision, along with the mental and emotional constitution that allows them to dedicate themselves to making that vision a reality. That kind of personal sacrifice and laser focus is rare, and is something that I very much admire and respect.
Never having been much of a risk taker myself, I nonetheless decided to make the leap from loyal and dependable employee to independent legal service provider/writer/marketer/budget planner and small business owner – all wrapped in one.
A virtual lawyer in Massachusetts learning the ropes
It has been quite an experience – scary, promising, frustrating, liberating and satisfying all at once. Not surprisingly, as the year has progressed, certain things have led me to adjust some of my business and marketing strategies, while continuing to produce relevant content, engage in social media, and build and nurture professional contacts with other attorneys, as well as others in the small business community.
I am encouraged by the fact that for all of the solitary moments spent writing and researching, my online presence, while still in its infancy, has gotten me interviewed for a few online and print publications, from the ABA’s General Practice/Solo magazine to the Worcester Business Journal to the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly(subscription required). The latter article was a piece on the new Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code, and my blog series about the code is what led to my being interviewed for the article.
And next week, one of my articles will be published on the nationally recognized legal industry blog, Small Firm Innovation, which was selected by the ABA Journal as one of the top 100 law blogs in 2012.
A Consumer Law Revolution is under way
As an IT professional-turned-lawyer, I am excited about the technological changes taking place in the legal industry as they relate to the delivery of legal services. We are truly in the midst of what Virtual Law Practice pioneer, Stephanie Kimbro, calls the “Consumer Law Revolution.” As Stephanie describes it:
Consumers in need of personal and business legal services are turning to the Internet to seek legal assistance. This should not come as a surprise. The public is going online for almost every other consumer need in their personal and professional lives.
No doubt, technology is truly transforming how people do business and how consumers shop, bank, invest and communicate. Is it any wonder that the delivery of legal services would be affected by technology and the internet?
While I’ve been critical of some of the “do-it-yourself” legal websites, I understand why legal consumers would find them useful. At any rate, there is room in the legal marketplace for the full range of options being made available to serve people’s legal needs. I truly believe that empowering legal consumers through technology has expanded access to legal services for a wider range of people than in the past. On balance, this should be viewed as a positive outcome.
And for all of the consumers who would prefer to go the do-it-yourself route, there are those who feel more comfortable knowing that someone is there to point out the pros and cons of a certain decision or action.
A virtual law practice can bridge the gap between technology and the law
That’s why one of my goals, as a virtual lawyer in Massachusetts, is to help bridge that gap. By providing a safe and convenient avenue for Massachusetts legal consumers to utilize technology while still being able to consult with a legal professional, someone who might not have considered legal guidance a few years ago might be more open to it today.
The legal landscape is a minefield for those not familiar with its rules and procedures. To that end, the Consumer Law Revolution should help more people navigate that terrain better – as active and engaged participants, rather than uncertain passengers just along for the ride (and footing the bill to boot!).
I don’t know what lies ahead for my virtual law practice, but I know one thing: I am dedicated to serving clients, learning better business practices, and doing my part to transform the way lawyers and clients interact.