Beyond the Virtual Law Firm: Thinking Outside the Cloud

The following is a guest blog post by Michael Benjamin Moradzadeh of the Rimon Law Group:

Cloud technology allows attorneys to work anywhere they have a secure internet connection. This provides for greater flexibility, happier lawyers, higher profits, and better-served clients. However, a purely virtual law firm is not the answer. Law firms need to think outside the cloud: Utilize all the benefits of the 21st Century without throwing out the important aspects of traditional law firms in the process.

“Virtual Law Firm,” “eLawyering,” and “Cloud-Based Law” are all the latest buzz words in the cutting edge legal community. Lawyers have learned that they no longer need to be tethered to their desks. We can serve our clients better when we can work with them anywhere — whether from our offices or theirs. Indeed, elimination of needless commutes and facetime allow for more efficient practices, which gives us more time focused on serving our clients and maybe even with our families.

But virtualization can definitely go too far. Attorneys are still human, and we need brick and mortar from time to time, and we still benefit from face-to-face interaction with our colleagues.

A hybrid model, such as adopted by the Rimon Law Group, allows for the benefits of a virtual office and a brick and mortar building. Clients can video conference with attorneys any time, with e-rooms that allow clients and attorneys to collaborate on documents in real time. Cloud-based technology allows attorneys to work anywhere in the world.

But we must remember that a key benefit of a law firm is the ability to work with colleagues and to learn from them. For this reason, brick and mortar offices are placed in areas close to clusters of attorneys and clients. These offices serve as bases for our attorneys to meet clients and each other.

It is important to reap the benefits of new technologies without losing the human connections made in the traditional law firm model. If you balance it well, you can get happier attorneys and better served clients.

On the legal ethics issues raised by virtual lawyering, check out CEB’s program Lawyers in the Cloud: Professional Responsibility Issues Raised by Cloud Computing, available On Demand. For a primer on technology that can be used in the practice of law, go to the ever-popular CEB program Jeff Allen and Tony Vittal on Integrating Technology into Your Law Practice, also available On Demand.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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