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VIRTUAL PARALEGAL BLOG

Virtual Paralegal Blog discusses upcoming training, resources, events, products, services, and news relevant to the virtual paralegal business. Members are eligible to submit and showcase their success stories as part of our Member Spotlight on VPE’s website.                                                                Email       @VirtPara      @VirtParaJob      LinkedIn      Facebook  

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  • 5 Feb 2024 10:42 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Marketing and advertising techniques are changing quite rapidly. This is the right time for virtual paralegals to revise their methods and prepare for a year ahead. 

    Virtual paralegals will increasingly depend on AI-powered tools to analyze legal data, automate administrative tasks, and streamline research.

    Video marketing has become a popular tool for audience engagement, a trend expected to continue in 2024.

    Video marketing can be a powerful tool for virtual paralegals in 2024. More paralegals will likely use it to sell their services, communicate with potential clients, and build trust.

    Live streaming will become more popular, enabling virtual paralegals to hold live Q&A sessions to engage with potential clients when explaining their services.

    Legal issues are quite sensitive, making privacy a significant concern in the legal industry. A report by PwC found that 83 percent of clients desire to have more control over their data.

    To ensure client data is secure and used in compliance with legal and ethical norms, virtual paralegals should adopt transparent data handling practices and obtain clients’ explicit consent.

    Remember to put the client at the forefront of your marketing plans because success lies in your ability to adapt to the ever-changing marketing landscape.

  • 22 Jan 2024 10:06 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms such as ChatGPT, DALL·E, Jasper, Soundraw, and so on proved to be the talking point of 2023. Not just in the legal sector but across the economy and the world. A recent LexisNexis report, the legal profession's future, aimed to understand AI's current awareness and application in the sector. And, while the present use seemed minimal, with just over a third (36%) of respondents suggesting that they use the tech, the projected use seemed astronomical.

    Lawyers are increasingly turning to generative AI to find solutions. They are using the tech to produce briefs, documents, and content. They are ideating with AI, improving processes, and streamlining operations. They draft, negotiate, and analyze contracts. Lawyers used to speed up and improve their legal research drastically. And they are using AI for everyday tasks, including the most basic forms of communication.

    In short, AI has started to redefine the legal sector in 2023 and will become even more popular in 2024. The tech possesses an aura of inevitability and the lawyers and virtual paralegals that fail to utilize the tech, will be the lawyers and paralegals that fail to embrace the advantages it brings, and will ultimately fall behind.

    By: Dylan Brown

    Dylan is the Content Lead at LexisNexis UK. Before writing about law, he covered topics including business, technology, retail, talent management, and advertising.

  • 22 Jan 2024 10:05 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    The use of automated solutions, chatbots, and other forms of productized legal services will increase, and these will need lawyers' support and a more multi-disciplinary workforce with different skill sets. The proportion of legal work done by paralegals, data analysts, operational experts, and other specialists in the legal function might rise to the point where legal professionals become almost a minority. 

    As processes are improved and standardized, technology enables new strategies for sourcing legal services, and demands intensify to do more with less, the traditional legal function hierarchy will likely morph into a more agile and cost-effective structure.

    10 Predictions: The Legal Function in 2025

  • 6 Jan 2024 8:34 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    1.     The legal services market has grown at an average annual rate of about 3% in recent years.

    2.     The global legal services market is over $1 trillion.

    3.     The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated remote work adoption in the legal industry, reevaluating traditional office setups.

    4.     Legal Process Outsourcing services continue to grow, with companies outsourcing legal work to reduce costs.

    5.     Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs), such as fixed fees and value-based billing, have gained popularity, accounting for about 20-30% of legal billing.

    6.     Law firms are pressured to lower hourly rates due to client demands for cost savings.

    8.     Corporate law services account for a significant portion of the legal market, driven by mergers, acquisitions, and regulatory compliance.

    9.     Intellectual Property law services are in demand as companies seek to protect their innovations and trademarks.

    10. The criminal law sector is influenced by changes in legislation, criminal justice reform, and cybersecurity concerns.

    11. The e-discovery market is projected to reach over $17 billion by 2027 due to the increasing volume of digital data.

    12. The rise in cyber threats has led to increased demand for legal services related to cybersecurity and data breaches.

    13. Legal work related to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is growing as regulations evolve.

    14. Automating routine legal tasks, such as contract creation, reduces costs and improves efficiency.

    15. The legal industry is working on improving gender diversity, with women representing about 37% of lawyers in the U.S.

    16. Increasing attention is being given to racial and ethnic diversity, particularly in leadership roles within law firms.

    17. Legal analytics platforms are gaining traction, helping law firms make data-driven decisions.

    18. Changes in environmental regulations are driving legal work related to sustainability and environmental compliance.

    19. The legal tech startup ecosystem is expanding, focusing on automation, e-discovery, and access to justice.

    20. Law firms increasingly rely on digital marketing, including SEO and content marketing, to attract clients.

    Written by Joshua Davis, VP of Platform

  • 1 Jan 2024 10:44 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Demand for specialized expertise drives up much of the legal hiring activity. In particular, corporate legal departments and small-to-midsize law firms seek skilled legal candidates with 3-7 years of experience to join their teams.

    Legal professionals are trying to attain better work-life balance through remote and hybrid work arrangements, although many employers want them fully in-office. Robert Half recruiters report that this can contribute to positions being left unstaffed. Employee attrition and competition for expertise have law firms and corporate legal departments increasing their reliance on skilled contract professionals.

    Robert Half Salary Guide for 2024

    Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary, and permanent placement solutions and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit RobertHalf.com.

  • 8 Dec 2023 10:35 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Change has been in the legal workforce for a while, and 2024 promises more of the same. This article explores hiring and compensation trends in the field, as highlighted in the latest Robert Half Salary Guide edition.

    Demand for specialized expertise

    The legal industry is hungry for specialized skill sets. Corporate legal departments and small-to-midsize law firms seek skilled candidates with 3-7 years of experience. Among these in-demand roles, litigation experience is becoming a key qualifier, with expertise in civil, class action, and commercial litigation taking center stage. 

    The remote work dilemma

    Law firms and corporate legal departments offering remote or hybrid work arrangements stand to gain a competitive edge in the hiring market. These options have become more than perks, and they're increasingly the cornerstone of recruitment and retention strategies in many fields. 

    But while many legal professionals crave these flexible work arrangements, some employers still prefer an in-office presence. This expectation gap is causing some positions to remain unfilled, exacerbating staffing challenges.

    In some ways, this shouldn’t be surprising: A recent Robert Half survey found that 42% of legal professionals consider flexible work options their top consideration when applying for jobs. 

    The importance of contract talent

    To address staffing and knowledge gaps, legal departments and law firms alike are ramping up their use of contract professionals. Around half (49%) of law firms are turning to contract lawyers, while 43% hire legal specialists on a contract basis. Corporate legal departments are also following suit, particularly for litigation support and eDiscovery (38%), in-house counsel (36%), and legal support (36%).

    Looking toward 2024, the legal world is anything but static. From the rising demand for skills with emerging technologies to the growing role of contract talent, the field is changing fast, creating an exciting landscape for employers and professionals.  

    Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary, and permanent placement solutions and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit RobertHalf.com.

  • 29 Nov 2023 8:00 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    A paralegal in Sheepshead Bay is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from immigrants she falsely promised to provide legal services to at a lower rate. When she did no legal work for them or filed petitions on their behalf, and at times falsely said she was an attorney, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office said.

    Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York Ivan Arvelo, announced Monday the indictment of Zoya Shamilova of Sheepshead Bay on a 17-counts in which she was charged with grand theft, attempted grand larceny, immigrant assistance services fraud, coercion, practicing law without a license and first-degree scheme to defraud.

    According to the district attorney, citing the indictment, from about May 2022 to August 2023, Shamilova falsely claimed that she could help the victims who were from Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, India, and Kazakhstan with various immigration services, including green cards and obtaining Temporary Protected Status for a fee for about $4,500 to $16,250.

    Additionally, Shamilova allegedly threatened to report two undocumented individuals to immigration authorities after they questioned her.

    Shamilova was released without bail. She is set to return to court on Jan. 17, 2024. 

    By NBC New York Staff 

  • 29 Oct 2023 7:33 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Virtual paralegals are becoming increasingly popular in the legal industry as they offer a cost-effective and flexible solution for lawyers who need additional support. Virtual paralegals are typically independent contractors with the necessary education, training, or work experience to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

    Like traditional paralegals, virtual paralegals are not required to hold a license to perform their duties. However, it is important to note that virtual paralegals must work exclusively under the supervision of licensed attorneys to prevent the unauthorized practice of law. This means that virtual paralegals must refrain from providing legal advice or performing any task that would require a law license.

    To ensure that there is clarity between the roles of virtual paralegals and attorneys, virtual paralegals must always represent themselves as paralegals and never as attorneys. This includes avoiding the use of terms such as "lawyer," "counsel," or "legal advisor." Additionally, virtual paralegals must maintain a log of all their clients and projects to prevent conflicts of interest.

    Join our FREE Virtual Paralegal Directory today and start growing your business!

  • 29 Oct 2023 4:09 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    Choosing between a general practice and a niche practice is a key decision for virtual paralegals. Should you go for a general practice that offers assistance in multiple areas of law, or would a niche approach, focusing on a single specialty, be the best fit for your business?

    Let's consider an example. Picture an attorney seeking a paralegal to support their bankruptcy practice. In this scenario, what's the likelihood of them selecting a corporate paralegal with bankruptcy skills over one specializing exclusively in bankruptcy? Both paralegals can undoubtedly excel in their tasks, and some may have shifted from one practice area to another during their careers. However, the attorney is likely to feel most comfortable with a paralegal who has substantial experience in bankruptcy.

    If you possess a diverse skill set and substantial experience in multiple practice areas, tailor your marketing strategy to each field.

    If you focus on a niche, you can streamline your business and gradually expand into other practice areas as you grow. However, there are drawbacks to pursuing a niche practice. It can potentially lead to monotony if you're not passionate about your chosen specialty, as you'll be handling similar projects repeatedly. Additionally, if the niche market becomes unprofitable, you risk losing your business.

    If you opt for the niche route, consider these steps:

    Reflect on your years of experience and long-term enthusiasm for offering these specialized services. Will you still enjoy this work 2-5 years down the road? You could establish your business in one practice area and partner with an experienced paralegal in another.

    Narrow your niche and focus on specific demographics, such as age, gender, occupation, income level, ethnic background, or marital status within your chosen practice area. For instance, a family law paralegal might target French-speaking clients.

    As your practice evolves, you can expand into additional areas that complement your existing services. A niche practice can elevate your profitability per client by showcasing your specialized expertise, as many clients are willing to pay a premium for such a skill set.

    Join our FREE Virtual Paralegal Directory today and start growing your business!

  • 8 May 2023 8:48 PM | Cordina (Administrator)

    As the demand for virtual paralegals grows, so does the need for automation to streamline our work and help us grow our businesses. AI, or artificial intelligence, can automate many tasks that virtual paralegals perform manually. Doing so frees up time to take on more clients, increase efficiency, and expand our businesses.

    Here are a few ways that virtual paralegals can use AI to automate and grow their businesses:

    One of the most time-consuming tasks for virtual paralegals is drafting legal documents. With AI-powered document automation software, virtual paralegals can streamline document drafting by creating templates and automating repetitive tasks. This not only saves time but also reduces errors and improves accuracy.

    AI can also assist virtual paralegals with contract review by identifying key clauses and highlighting potential issues. This helps virtual paralegals review contracts more efficiently and effectively, freeing time to take on more clients.

    Another task virtual paralegals spend much time on is legal research. With AI-powered legal research tools, virtual paralegals can quickly find relevant cases, statutes, and regulations, allowing them to provide more comprehensive and accurate research to their clients.

    Chatbots are a great way for virtual paralegals to provide basic legal information and support to clients without having to spend time answering the same questions repeatedly. AI-powered chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, provide information on legal processes and procedures, and even schedule appointments with virtual paralegals.

    As AI evolves, virtual paralegals will have even more opportunities to leverage their power to serve their clients better and grow their businesses.

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