This Business Insider article effectively highlights the day in the life of a lawyer and, we’ll discuss the benefits of hiring of a Our article highlights the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant at your law firm. There are number of benefits.. But first, the author chronicles his day in half-hour increments from 7:00 am to 3:45 am on a busy workday. Their work consists of an endless slew of emails, client calls, meetings, document reviews, and deal-making. They found it difficult to find time to visit the gym or to sit down for an hour lunch. The author also detailed his schedule on a non-busy day. Those days he wrapped things up much sooner than 3:45 am, but still ended at a late 8:45 pm.
It’s not a secret that each day comes with its own set of unique challenges. However, as stated by The Balance Small Business site, an efficient work-life balance doesn’t just happen. Therefore, lawyers have to be comfortable with delegating tasks. They can create a time management strategy that helps them get a grasp on their workdays. One of the best ways a lawyer can ease their workload is by hiring a Virtual Assistant from Latin America.
A professional and experienced Virtual Assistant can take many duties off your hands. This allows you to focus on the aspects of the more critical tasks of your job. According to the 2017 State of Small Law Firms Study, 70 percent of firms feel that they spend too much time on administrative tasks.
Can you relate to this?
How much time are you spending on marketing, bookkeeping, schedule management, or client calls?
How much time will you have for the duties only you can do, as well as time for rest?
If all answers are unfavorable, check out our tips for hiring a Virtual Assistant that can ease the burnout.
Decide What to Delegate, and What to Keep
This step may be one of the most challenging tasks to do (besides finding the right professional for your company). However, this is necessary for hitting the ground running. You need to go through every function you are currently doing and determine what you can give to a Virtual Assistant. This will allow you to see what may be appropriate for a junior attorney (if you have one). Then what you should keep for yourself and other colleagues.
An excellent way to start this process is to categorize your tasks into groups of complexity and risk. For example, low-risk and low-complexity items are the tasks you will give to a Virtual Assistant. Higher risk and high complexity tasks such as doing identity verification on video for the purpose of protecting or gathering information for your client, are duties that you will handle. For everything in between, you can delegate based on the experience your a Virtual Assistant has in legal matters.
Find the Right Talent
The amount of experience you are seeking will depend on how many high-complexity tasks you would like for your Virtual Assistant. You should be looking for someone that has prior experience in the industry. It is crucial that you set up your hiring and onboarding process for candidates who only meet your specified criteria. Therefore, it would help if you considered taking the following approach:
- Pay attention to experience – If you are searching through profiles on our site, keep an eye on the experience of the Latin America professional. For example, have they worked for a law firm? Are they a lawyer turned part-time administrative assistant? Did they attend school for legal matters? Watch out for these interactions with your sector.
- Create scenario-based questions – If you want to know how they would handle a specific task, include general and job-specific scenario-based questions in your interview. Get as detailed as possible about what you need and frame questions around these tasks.
- Allow them to show their experience through projects – Before you both commit to working together; have them take on a low-risk project. This will, therefore, indicate their level of experience with legal matters.
Following this process can help put you on track to locate a Latin America professional that is the best fit for your organization.
Build a System That Allows Them to Hit the Ground Running
So, you have created a hiring and onboarding system that will help to ensure you can find the right talent. Excellent! However, there is still work to be completed. For life to be more comfortable on the back-end, systems need to be created on the front-end. This is very important for you and your Latin America professional to succeed.
For example, if you need your assistant to help you better manage your schedule, develop this system before they arrive. Find a schedule management application that works best with your daily routine and set up the framework for using this system.
The steps include developing a procedure on how they should categorize events and the urgency of each. You should also decide on the amount of buffer time between each meeting or call. Once you´ve identified the principles and system you´ll use, it´s time to implement them. Then, give these tools to your assistant.
Allow them to Manage your Web Presence
As mentioned above, most of your day consists of meetings, emails, and document reviews. Therefore, creating and maintaining a web presence is a tall order. This task is lower risk and low-complexity depending on the functions you need done. Your assistant can post on social media, interact with followers, maintain your website, and post blog content.
Many of the tasks your assistant will handle will depend on their experience level and complexity of what you need. If you know that you need help in the marketing department, try to find a professional with experience in this realm. They can organize and streamline the marketing and branding of your law practice. This will also make it easier for clients to find you.
Assign them Tasks Related to Basic Research and Data Entry
Intricate law and case research should be left to professional lawyers and junior attorneys. Latin American professionals might be able to handle some preliminary and basic research, which can save you a lot of time. For this, you may want to go through and categorize the information you need that is low risk and relatively easy to find. This way, you ensure that your assistant can help out without becoming overwhelmed or confused about what you need.
You can also assign them tasks related to data entry. You can have them enter client information into a CRM, or transcribe recordings from interviews or testimonies. Both of these tasks are relatively low risk, but they are also incredibly helpful in allowing you and junior attorneys to work on projects with higher complexity.
Delegate Basic Accounting and Financial Duties
You might have a professional accountant that periodically takes a look at your books. However, who is managing the day-to-day budget and expenses? This might be just what you need to keep your finances organized. We have compiled a list of software applications that make receipt management and expense tracking a breeze. Apps like Quickbooks, Zoho Office Suite, Xero, and Wave make it easy to follow daily costs, and balance these on expenditures with your designated budget.
Having an assistant keep a watchful eye on your books allows them to catch anything that may present a significant financial problem. While you may intend to keep track of this information yourself, your schedule will likely not allow you to catch overspending or minor mistakes that an assistant would have the time to see.
Have Your Virtual Assistant Screen Calls
In the Business Insider article mentioned above; the author discussed the high volume of calls he received throughout the day. Some clients may have urgent needs that require immediate attention. While other clients needs may not be as important. However, once the author was on the phone, he had to help the client work through the issue.
A Virtual Assistant could be beneficial during this process. Instead of having to answer every call, they could answer your calls and only send clients that have urgent problems. They can then schedule the less urgent calls for a time that best works for you and the client. Some important front-end work for this task would be setting up a system like Calendly. They can also look at your calendar as they speak with clients to choose a time for a follow-up.
According to a study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, 28 percent of practicing lawyers are suffering from depression. A study by Vault, a career research company, found that only 31 percent of lawyers are using all of their vacation days. These stats reveal that a large number of lawyers do not have the resources they need to enjoy a decent work-life balance.
Fortunately, the rise of high-speed internet and effective online communications makes it easy to hire a Virtual Assistant from Latin America at an affordable salary. Again, the goal is to find tasks that are low risk and low complexity. Then interview them to see if they can take on higher complexity tasks. From there, you can better decide the administrative and marketing duties you can delegate to your newly hired a Virtual Assistant.
Your workdays should not be 12 and 15 hours long. At some point, you have to find a balance between your professional and personal life. Hiring a Virtual Assistant allows you to practice better time management and task delegation.