Sunday, August 21, 2011
The September 2011 NYS Bar Journal ran a series of articles on virtual law offices. (sorry, no link available yet). There are actually several firms doing this and a business has been set up to help these firms establish their virtual office. The idea is that these firms establish a client portal where they can interact with clients. While I have never actually particpated in this, it appears to be a type of document exchange and chat process.
For certain types of non-litigation practices, I can see that there is a place for this type of firm. It certainly is a major step about businesses which sell legal forms, but do not practice law. As some of the articles point out, there are ethical issues that must be considered as well as unauthorized practice of law issues if your client is from a jurisdiction that your not admitted in.
It seems to me that while a pure virtual office may be extreme, many full service firms may develop such a portal to handle simple document exhanges such as wills, power of attorney forms, incorporation and name changes. Of course, all of that can also be done via a legal form, but many non-attorneys may still need help.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein