Specializing in Virtual Legal Assistance

Legal Assistance – Virtually Everywhere! July 9, 2008

I have just been getting my virtual legal assistance practice off the ground (in fact my website is currently under construction now that I’ve hired a web designer!!) and sometimes I have worried that lawyers won’t be comfortable hiring a virtual legal assistant. Maybe they won’t be comfortable with me being so far away or won’t be sure that I truly understand the nature of confidentiality rules and ethical practices. In my previous job they weren’t even fond of telecommuters because they felt it wasn’t protective enough of the client’s documentation. Really I think they just didn’t trust any of their employees to work without supervision.

So I was heartened to read this post over at Home Office Lawyer. Grant uses a virtual assistant, so it was no surprise that he is comfortable with the concept. Still it was good to see it so clearly set out and I LOVED the post he referred to by Stephanie Kimbro of Virtual Law Office Technology, LLC. I’d highly recommend you check out Stephanie’s post if you are at all interested in retaining a virtual legal assistant/virtual paralegal for your law practice.


Virtual Assistants – Can We Agree on a Definition? July 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie @ 5:52 pm
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I just read Tina Marie Hilton’s post over on Home Office Virtual Assistance regarding trying to come to agreement about what a Virtual Assistant really is.

My preferred definition is this one, but really they all do a reasonable job of defining what a va is, I think. And I’m pretty much in the “Factor B” group as defined by Tina – I think a professional va should have some real world admin experience and behave as a business owner, not an employee.

I don’t think the entire industry will ever wholeheartedly agree though, and even if they do their will always be people providing similar services for lower rates (just maybe not on a truly professional level).


VA Certification – Yes or No? June 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie @ 8:11 am
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A resounding NO to this question from me! I’m of the opinion that experience in an administrative setting is the key to being successful as a VA, or at least one of the keys. Administrative experience will help you with your client’s work, but you will need some entrepreneurial skills also to help you run your business and you need to have some tech skills for the online and marketing aspects. A professional virtual assistant designation though? Not a requirement to me – maybe not a bad idea, but not a requirement.

Probably that makes this obvious but I have no official va certification, nor do I plan to obtain one in the immediate future. I do have an honors college diploma in paralegal studies and over 10 years of in-office experience so I think I’ve got the background aspect well under control.


Do you find work stressful? June 24, 2008

This is an older article I came across recently, but stress, not surprisingly, continues to plague lawyers and business people alike.

Work and life balance is a common topic in the work world, certainly with many people I know anyway. I know it’s on my mind. I love working – I love the challenge of difficult assignments, I love helping clients, I love the planning process! But without balance between my work life and my personal life I feel VERY stressed. I love my kids and husband and I need time to enjoy being with them. Don’t most of us need time away from work? Maybe we want to go to our kids’ soccer games or go for a long walk after dinner, or maybe we just want to sleep in on the weekends!

So how do we make it all work? For me the answer is starting my own virtual assistant business, but there are many other options!! Part-time work and flexible work arrangements are another great solution. Delegation is key for small business owners. Don’t get bogged down thinking you need to do it all or be everything for your company, balance can be achieved!!


Working with a Virtual Assistant May 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie @ 8:47 pm
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Tina of Clerical Advantage has a great post up on Home Office Virtual Assistant about the mechanics of working with a VA.

Tina’s post really got me thinking – it’s easy to work with a VA, especially once you get over the hurdle of realizing how much can be done off-site from your business location. At first it seems overwhelming to realize how many choices there are – choose a VA, choose a method of communication that works well for you, maybe you need to learn how to use a shared workspace. But once you take those first few steps, think how much easier running your business will be! It’s great to share some of that burden of running a small business and realize we really don’t have to do everything for ourselves isn’t it?

It’s such an exciting and challenging prospect, for me as a virtual assistant and for businesses who can get exactly the help they need.


Challenging Tradition May 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie @ 8:43 am
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I first read about the company Fairway Divorce Solutions a few months ago in Alberta Venture magazine.  Now I see an article about it in the Financial Post and I’m so glad.  Divorce is a sad and often ugly process and I love that there are alternatives coming into existence.  I’ve worked as a legal assistant in a couple of firms that did divorce law and I enjoyed certain aspects of it but always felt that mediation would be very helpful to a lot of clients.  It’s pretty tough in an emotional and volatile situation to step back and really come to a resolution that works for everyone but it’s definitely the best choice, especially when children are involved.

I would so enjoy working with a company like this, or lawyers that try to  use a similar approach (it certainly can be done, although the legal process often brings out the adversarial nature of people).

I like to think of virtual assistant and paralegal services as being another way of challenging tradition.  We all need to remember that there are many ways of accomplishing tasks and goals – just because we’ve always done things a certain way doesn’t mean it is the best solution for our businesses or our clients.  Virtual professionals can be so cost effective and efficient it is a wonderful alternative to traditional office models of practice.


Call Me What You Like May 7, 2008

As I started making plans for my business I of course thought long and hard about my business name. I chose to use “Secretarial Services” as the descriptive portion. I frequent a couple of virtual assistant message boards and this topic comes up a lot. Most on those boards seem to prefer the term “virtual assistant” but at the same time there are many threads discussing how they always seem to be explaining what a virtual assistant is. I didn’t want to waste valuable time explaining what I was, when I could spend that time explaining to potential clients how I could help them. That’s what it is about for me – helping the client grow and improve their business. Secretaries help their bosses in that way. They are behind the scenes but on the front line all at the same time – that’s what I will be to my clients – a helpful presence who makes life easier!!

I was therefore thrilled to read this post by Carol Ann Wilson about being proud to be a legal secretary. It reminded me of the virtual assistant discussions and it also reminded me of my days working in lawfirms. Our names kept changing – legal secretary, legal assistant, paralegal. And yes I know they don’t mean *exactly* the same things (depending on who you ask especially) – essentially we all worked to support the lawyers and the clients. Personally, I say call me what you prefer – as long as I get the chance to show you how I can help you and your clients!