How to Hire a Legal Virtual Assistant [GUIDE]
Being a lawyer is definitely a lot of work. On top of the pressure of your legal responsibilities, you have to juggle tasks like office administrative work, appointment setting, content writing, and managing case files. Taking on non-core duties can prevent you from focusing on core responsibilities that bring more value to your law firm and clients.
If the above situation sounds familiar, it’s time to look up how to hire a legal virtual assistant (legal VA). A legal VA can provide the back-end support you need to keep your law firm running effectively and efficiently. Hiring a VA for your law practice can help you tick off more tasks without unnecessarily spending too much resources and energy. Find out how.
The benefits of working with a legal virtual assistant
Virtual staffing is an excellent choice for any business or establishment, from law firms to solo law practices. A virtual assistant or VA can do just about anything an in-office staff can do but in the comfort of their own remote office.
If you’re still on the fence, here are some of the top benefits you can reap when you hire a legal virtual assistant:
Focus on your core functions
When you have too many back-office tasks, you can lose important time and energy to do what you’re best at—practicing law. But by hiring a legal VA, you can still check essential yet time-consuming tasks like appointment setting, client database management, and the like. They can help improve productivity and free you up to handle more high-level (and billable!) duties.
Save on costs without sacrificing the quality of work
On top of boosting productivity, VAs can also help keep your labor and overhead costs low. With a virtual assistant, you can hire top-notch global remote talents at a fraction of the price of hiring in-office, full-time staff. Virtual staffing also eliminates expenses like transportation allowances, new office equipment, and other costs related to new hires.
Flexible and scalable alternative staffing solution
Hiring VAs offers a lot of flexibility and scalability. Depending on the workload you’ll delegate, you can hire a legal virtual assistant full-time or part-time. And as your requirements grow, you can easily scale up your VA team as well.
Protect your personal time
According to the 2022 Legal Trends Report from Clio, “73% of lawyers work outside the usual Monday to Friday work week.” There are many factors, like a heavy workload and other tasks that aren’t part of your billable hours, such as administrative tasks and client intake activities. While working beyond regular office hours once in a while may be harmless, doing this regularly can mean sacrificing your personal life.
By hiring a virtual assistant, you can free up more time for yourself. This way, you can enjoy life outside work, whether it’s taking up a new hobby, spending time with your loved ones, or protecting your well-being.
How to hire a legal virtual assistant
Deciding that you want to hire a legal VA is just the beginning. You must check off the following from your to-do list to ensure you’re hiring the most suitable legal virtual assistant for your business.
Assess your workload and identify tasks to be delegated
Before kicking off your search for a legal VA, you must evaluate your current workload. Identifying tasks that can be delegated to a virtual assistant is essential. Doing so can help you determine the specific skills and experience level you need to look for in a VA. At the same time, having a list of tasks will help you define the number of hours your VA needs to work every week.
Defining your expectations and creating a job ad
Once you’ve identified the tasks to be delegated, it’s time to define your expectations and put everything together in a job ad. You need to include what you expect from your future VA, including the following:
- Scope of work
- Software and tools to be used
- Required skills and experience
- Availability (project-based, long-term, etc.)
- Required weekly hours (and the rates)
Aside from the above details, include other information that a candidate may need to determine whether or not they’re a good fit for the role. After completing your job ad, you need to post this on relevant remote talent recruitment platforms and your online profiles for potential candidates to review and apply to.
Need help with finding your legal virtual assistant? Visit the 20four7VA blog for more resources, or contact our Growth Experts for top-notch remote staffing services.
Screening and interviewing applicants
When screening applicants, it’s essential to be as thorough as possible. If not, you may end up with a poor job fit and redo the whole process all over again. The search for a VA can be time and energy-consuming, so you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of your schedule to ensure you’re getting the most suitable VA for your needs.
Make sure to check the applications meticulously and compare them with your job ad and list of required skills. Then, you’d want to have a shortlist of around three candidates to interview. You can conduct phone and video interviews to get a better understanding of their credentials as well as their communication skills and professionalism.
Our Client Endorsement Specialist, Luisa Ching, advises, “Ask interview questions that can help you understand their work attitude and soft skills a little deeper.” These things don’t always jump out when reviewing an applicant’s resume. But they’re essential to uncover as they can help you measure whether or not they’re the type of VA you’re looking for.
Background check and job offer
To ensure you’ve got your bases covered, you need to do a background check on your final candidates. Reach out to the contacts they’ve listed down as character references to confirm the details on their applications. Through background checks, you can get more feedback about their performance in their previous roles.
After doing the background checks, it’s time to extend your job offer, which should include the following:
- Role or position
- Work arrangement (part-time, full-time, project-based, etc.)
- Payout frequency
- Management structure (department, immediate manager, etc.)
- Start date
- Hiring requirements (medical test, submission of documents, and so on)
- Deadline and directions on how to respond
Make hiring top remote talents much more convenient with 20four7VA! Schedule a free consultation call with our Growth Experts to find your own legal VA.
Finally! You now have a virtual legal assistant. But the work doesn’t end there. You must ensure you’re setting up your VA for success by helping them adjust to your law practice, learn their roles, and forge an excellent working relationship.
Never skip onboarding
Your VA’s first few days on the job are crucial. You can’t expect a VA to excel at their role without onboarding them. Johan Castro, 20four7VA’s Customer Support Operations Manager, sees onboarding as a tone-setter of your and your virtual assistant’s journey of working together. “During their first five days, your VA should be able to familiarize themselves with their day-to-day tasks plus learn how to navigate the necessary tools and software,” says Johan. He adds, “They’ll be able to do this more effectively with a solid onboarding process.”
Setting clear expectations
You need to set clear expectations with your VA. It’s best to align on goals and KPIs when they start working with you. The list of their KPIs will serve as their north star. They can always refer to this to gauge whether or not they’re on track. You can always revisit these KPIs and adjust them when needed. Of course, you’ll need to discuss any adjustments with your VA. This way, you’re sure you’re always on the same page regarding expectations or deliverables.
And when you’re delegating tasks, make sure you clearly communicate your expectations, deadlines, and deliverables to the virtual assistant. Doing so can help them prioritize their tasks and schedule their day more efficiently. Don’t forget to also establish a system for tracking progress (through periodic check-ins, project management and collaboration apps, etc.). More importantly, you need to provide timely feedback on completed tasks, so your VA knows how they’re performing and address any performance gaps, if any.
Want more tips on how to set your virtual assistant up for success? Visit our website’s Virtual Staffing 101 section or schedule a free consultation call with our Growth Experts today!
Managing an excellent working relationship
To make the most out of remote staffing, you need to put in effort in managing an excellent working relationship. And the most effective way to do this is by keeping communication lines open. You need to determine your preferred synchronous and asynchronous communication tools. Make sure to use these regularly for check-ins, team alignments, and cascading of important announcements. Using such apps regularly will help keep everyone aligned and make remote talents feel every bit a part of the team.
If you want to enhance collaboration even when working with a distributed team, you can use project management tools or collaboration platforms. These tools are excellent ways to facilitate communication and exchanging of files as well as ideas.
Partnered with great leadership, these project management tools and communication apps encourage open and transparent communication. They help ensure that nothing gets lost in translation so the team can freely and harmoniously work together despite the distance.
So, should you hire a legal virtual assistant?
Hiring a legal virtual assistant can be a game-changer for busy lawyers and law firms. You can reap the benefits of having a skilled and reliable virtual assistant to support your practice by determining your needs, finding the right candidate, and effectively managing the working relationship. Hopefully, this guide can help your law practice find the most suitable remote talent.
If you need expert remote staffing services, you can simply reach out to a top-tier VA company like 20four7VA. Our award-winning, end-to-end virtual assistant services include matching you with a legal VA, payroll processing, performance management, and more.
Ready to hire a legal VA with us? Book a free consultation call today!