Changing the Law: How Virtual Law Firms are Increasingly Changing the Attorney-Client Relationship

Posted by Bray Dohrwardt | Jan 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

When I started practicing law in the early 2000s, the standard was working at a big firm in a prominent downtown office that was just one of the firm's many national (and international) offices. It was a different time when clients knew they could leave their high-rise building, cross the street, and stop by our office to discuss issues and exchange documents. Our clients knew they could reach us anytime by calling our receptionist…during office hours. We had an extensive physical research library, and laptop use was rare; lawyers had just started using email and mobile phones, and courts were only just considering electronic filing. Indeed, one of the biggest debates in those days was whether the firm should provide attorneys with a Blackberry for email and phone access. Many in the firm resisted, steadfastly believing clients did not need the ability to reach their attorneys 24 hours a day. It certainly was a different time. 

Today, business gets done wherever it is convenient, whether in a coffee shop, home office, or on the road. Virtual meetings occur over video conferencing and can include people worldwide. And law practice is no different. Today, our clients want to message or call us whenever advice is needed. They like to send and access their documents and files when needed. They want our technology to support instant payment, reusable document templates, and the ability to search through their files. Today, clients are not as impressed with our prominent office space as they are with our easy accessibility and use of technology. 

In response, virtual law firms have been gaining popularity. Today's firms shun the traditional brick-and-mortar model of large and expensive office space to operate online instead, and their lawyers work remotely from their offices or homes. While this new way of practicing steadily increased before the pandemic shutdowns, the pandemic tested and encouraged many companies, industries, and institutions to test new business ways. This included the practice of law, where even courts were forced to adopt and deploy technology to allow virtual court proceedings. The virtual law firm took advantage of these changes as client acceptance of virtual firms has accelerated since the pandemic. This virtual firm model provides several benefits for lawyers and clients.

Firstly, virtual law firms typically have lower overhead costs than traditional ones. Virtual firms can avoid paying for physical office space, utilities, or other expenses associated with a brick-and-mortar office. As a result, they can offer more affordable rates to their clients.

Secondly, virtual law firms offer greater flexibility to their lawyers. Lawyers can work from anywhere with an internet connection, which means they can work from home or while traveling. This helps lawyers achieve a better work-life balance and reduce stress.

Finally, virtual law firms can provide fast and efficient service to clients. Since everything is done online, documents can be shared, reviewed, and signed much more quickly than sent by mail or courier. Lawyers can meet clients where they are and bring their files, documents, and research library with them. This flexibility improves the attorney-client experience while helping clients get the legal advice they need faster and more conveniently, reducing legal spending.

Virtual law firms can be an excellent option for clients looking for affordable, flexible, and efficient legal services. As the legal industry evolves, virtual law firms will likely become more common and widely accepted.

The information provided is only for general information and is not meant to be legal advice.  Information on this website, including third-party links, may not include the most up-to-date information, so you should contact your attorney to discuss your particular matter. Third-party links are provided for convenience only and are not an endorsement by the Dohrwardt Law Firm.

About the Author

Bray Dohrwardt

As an accomplished attorney with over 22 years of experience, Bray Dohrwardt has built an impressive career, enabling business growth and commercial success for many companies from start-ups to large corporations and nonprofits. He focuses his practice on business law and energy law.


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Bray Dohrwardt is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Texas. Please contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to discuss how the firm can help you get business done.