A career as a virtual assistant is one that requires an entrepreneurial spirit, patience and expertise in a specific field. If you are thinking about becoming a legal virtual assistant, you must be prepared to handle a wide range of tasks from a remote location. With the right client, the work of a virtual assistant can be fulfilling, while providing great flexibility during the workday.
What Is a Legal Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who work from home and provide assistance in the areas that are needed by the client. While many people categorize the work of a virtual assistant as mostly an administrative function, virtual assistants can manage various responsibilities that are integral to the success of a firm, according to The Estrin Report. If you choose to work for a law firm, then you can either be a generalist or focus on a legal specialty, such as litigation, real estate, estate planning, bankruptcy, corporate, immigration and more.
The role of a virtual assistant can include administrative duties similar to one of a legal secretary; however, responsibilities may vary depending on the needs of the firm. For example, lawyers may rely on virtual assistants to assist them with customer service and marketing functions, including email and social media management, content writing, graphic design and even optimizing their law firm's website. There might also be various miscellaneous tasks that a virtual assistant may need to complete with urgency.
Qualifications for this position include an understanding of the field in addition to experience across a variety of areas. In the past, a strong understanding of English has been a must, but with the increase of international communication, this is no longer the case. The same can be said about speaking multiple languages. While certainly a plus, it is no longer a requirement. Having worked as a legal assistant or aide is helpful but not required.
Additionally, hiring managers look favorably upon applicants who have great communications skills (verbal and written) with a strong background in providing administrative support as well as having expertise in other areas, such as knowing how to optimize social media to attract more clients.
It would also be beneficial for you to be familiar with several commonly used software and programs, such as Lexis/ Nexis Westlaw, Juris, Microsoft Office, Legal Master, etc. Virtual assistants should be comfortable with utilizing Wi-Fi, Skype, conference calls, FaceTime, etc.
How to Get Hired
If you use the general job search platforms, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, you may find ads for a legal virtual assistant. However, if you would like to attempt a more proactive approach, you can market yourself as a virtual assistant on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to greatly increase your chances of getting noticed by a law firm. Also, you can search on Martindale.com for contact information of either local and out-of-state law firms and send them your qualifications for a potential virtual assistant role. Sometimes, law firms do not have a vacant position available; however, they might consider hiring you for part-time or consulting as needed.
The biggest pro of being a legal virtual assistant is working remotely. Virtual assistants have the luxury of working from home, the library or even the Starbucks downtown. Another perk is that you are not restricted to working locally or even within the country. If you are comfortable with working in a different time zone, you could also pursue global clients.
While getting a job as a legal virtual assistant may be a great fit for your lifestyle, there also may be a few cons. For example, finding clients may be an uphill battle unless you land a steady full-time or part-time position with an employer. If you are working as an independent contractor, it may be difficult to find enough clients to sustain your living costs. There are some firms who may be looking for an assistant who can support many hours per week, while there are others who may just need a couple of hours per month.
Tips for Success
Set yourself up for success as a legal virtual assistant by brushing up on your administrative skills, social media, phone and email manner, and customer service. If you are determined to keep marketing your services as well as looking for part-time or full-time job vacancies on the various platforms, you will continue to find and land legal virtual assistant positions.
After you snag a client, be sure to inform yourself of their law specialty so you can provide the best service for their niche. Having a good attitude as well as being a problem solver for your client will make you an indispensable asset!
Article Contributed by Michael Erbe.
Michael Erbe is a Content Writer for DAGMAR Marketing in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in writing SEO, Digital Marketing, and Career Development pieces for multiple industries.