Imagine you are a young, energetic attorney who, after countless months of work, finally earned vacation. After five days poolside in Maui, you find yourself sitting in a cramped terminal in the airport. As you stare blankly at the empty jet bridge where your plane should be sitting, you wonder if a connecting flight has ever been on time. Suddenly, hepatic touch notification on your watch gently taps your wrist. The watch alerts you to a very important email from a large software company you represent. Your client is worried about the review and return of an urgent request for proposal before the day’s end.
Without batting an eye, you reach into your bag and pull out an iPad. After connecting the iPad to wifi, you open the client proposal sent securely using ShareFile. As you skim the agreement line-by-line, you make a number of comments, highlight the areas you want to bring to the company’s attention and strike those provisions not favorable to your client. In an email, you compose a memo addressing all points of concern with a ShareFile link to the amended proposal. After hitting send, you quietly slide the iPad back into its case. At no point did you search an old, dusty library full of thick law books or consult the assistance of your paralegal. You conducted the entire review sitting in a crowded terminal.
If you explained this hypothetical to any attorney before the early 2000s, it is likely he or she would have stared blankly at you in disbelief. While the “lawyers of old” certainly sought to deliver the same top-notch legal services, their plight was often accompanied by the need for the assistance of legal aides, paralegals, and staff. But gone are the days of this seemingly antiquated practice.
The virtual law practice, as it has been coined, is the new normal. The key focus of the virtual law practice is efficiency and client service. Very little emphasis is placed on those traditional “markers of success” like an elaborately decorated office with a large mahogany desk and a library filled with leather-bound law books. This new technologically advanced method of providing legal services is streamlined for productivity, not flashiness.