The Draper Law Firm has been largely virtual since 2008. With many lawyers forced to go virtual due to the coronavirus situation, here a few helpful resources for making the transition:
Phone System – Having a VoIP based phone system is extremely helpful when you are virtual. It allows people to use their office number from anywhere via a desktop or mobile app without ever having to give out a personal cell phone number. Our firm uses Ring Central. Grasshopper is another example, but a search for “VoIP for business” will give you a lot of good options.
Answering Services – Having a backup answering service can be very helpful when everyone is working from home, especially since many people are now also managing their children’s schooling from home at the same time. Our firm uses Lex Reception, but other options include Ruby Receptionist, Answering Legal and Smith.AI. During business hours, our phone system will ring to our legal assistant first, but if she is unable to answer for whatever reason, it will switch over to the answering service.
Video Conferencing – Don’t you wish you had bought stock in Zoom a month ago? Video conferencing is extremely important during a time when we cannot have much face-to-face interaction. Ring Central includes a video meeting component powered by Zoom. Zoom offers a free option, but it limits the length of meeting time. GoToMeeting, Skype and FaceTime are other options. FaceTime requires each person have an apple device, so I do not think that is the best option for office use.
Cloud-Based Storage – This is critical to operating virtually, as it allows everyone in your office to access and work on the same documents without e-mailing things back and forth. We use DropBox for business, which is secure and HIPAA compliant. Other options include ShareFile.com, Egnyte.com, Box.com, Clinked.com, and Google Drive. Texas Ethics Opinion 680 provides that a lawyer may use a cloud-based electronic data storage system to store client confidential information, but lawyers must take reasonable precautions related to data breaches, unauthorized access, and the disclosure of confidential information.
E-Signing Software- Use software that allows people to sign documents electronically such as Adobe Acrobat Pro or DocuSign. We send out forms through Clio Grow, which allows clients to fill out questionnaires and sign fee agreements electronically.
Practice Management Programs – Our firm uses Clio Manage for practice management. It allows for time keeping, billing, calendars, reporting, task management, and has greatly streamlined the case management process for our firm. Other examples of practice management programs or task management programs are MyCase, Practice Panther, and RocketMatter, Monday.com, Dubsado, Padio, Trello, Asana, and Smokeball.
Office Essentials – Every person in the firm should have their own laptop and printer / scanner / copier. When you are largely paperless, you don’t need the huge copier systems that many firms have at the office. An at-home all-in-one printer for less than $200 will be perfectly sufficient. It is important to either have a good shredder or have a lockable box for storing to-be-shredded documents. Once it is full, have a shredding company come shred it.
If you have other resources you think would be helpful, feel free to share them with us using the Contact form and we will update accordingly!