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Virtual Lawyering Learning Center 

What is a Virtual Law Firm?

What is a Virtual Law Firm?

A “virtual law firm” or “virtual law office” is characterized by access by the firm’s clients to a password protected and secure web space where both the attorney and client may interact and legal services are consumed by the client.  More specifically a virtual law firm can be defined as having a secure client portal that is accessible from the law firm’s web site. The "client portal" is what enables a law firm to have a law practice on the Web. Through this secure portal, for example, a client can have private discussions of legal matters online, purchase legal advice online, assemble documents through the web browser, download and upload of documents for review, and pay legal bills online.

See: Suggested Minimum Requirements for Law Firms Delivering Legal Services Online, Published by ABA ELawyering Task Force. (.pdf)

What is "elawyering"?

  • elawyering can be defined as:

[E- Lawyering  is] all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies. These include new ways to communicate and collaborate with clients, prospective clients and other lawyers, produce documents, settle disputes and manage legal knowledge. Think of  a lawyering verb—interview, investigate, counsel, draft, advocate, analyze, negotiate, manage and so forth—and there are corresponding electronic tools and techniques.”   eLawyering  or virtual lawyering requires  that a client be able to log in to a secure web space with a user name and password where they can access the firm’s legal services.

See: eLawyering Task Force, American Bar Association, Law Practice Management, for more information and material on this topic.

What a "virtual law firm " is not!

A  law firm without a physical office, sometimes called a “virtual law firm.” is not considered a "virtual law firm" if the firm does not have a secure client portal.

A law firm that uses web-based back-office practice management tools and applications is not a “virtual law firm.”, if it does not have a secure "client portal" .

By our definition, virtual lawyering and elawyering are one and the same and they always involve the actual delivery of legal services over the Web through a "client portal" that is part of the firm's web site architecture. If you don't have a web site, you are not operating as a "virtual law firm".

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