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How to Work Effectively with a Virtual Paralegal

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Virtual paralegals are quite different from AI-powered chatbots that handle repetitive tasks. They are properly trained to provide a wide range of support services to attorneys. Just like an in-house paralegal, a virtual paralegal can be of great assistance by managing different tasks that include organizing files, drafting correspondence and preparing legal documents. The main difference between them is that the latter works remotely.

The thought of hiring a virtual paralegal for the first time can be really scary because sensitive data will be involved. However, it’s a smart decision if you want to reduce the overhead costs in your law firm. There’s no need to provide a stable internet connection or any technological device. Once you’ve understood the pros and cons of hiring a virtual paralegal, the following tips will help you to establish a stress free relationship.  

  • Carry out a thorough research

You need to hire a virtual paralegal with enough experience and the right qualifications. Check their resume to learn more about their work history and gather background information. Consider requesting for writing samples so as to have an idea of their writing style. In addition, find out the local rules that govern hiring paralegals in your area. The one you finally choose should have a certificate which indicates that he passed a professional exam.

  • Secure your data

It’s imperative to adopt security best practices for protecting the data of your law firm and clients. This is because information will be transferred using the internet and different risks are usually involved. According to experts, most of the data breaches that happened in the past weren’t caused by malware or hackers, but as a result of employees’ carelessness. Ensure that you hire a trustworthy paralegal that will always take security measures to be on the safer side.  

  • Have clear expectations

Understanding the difference between a full-time employee and an independent contractor can save you from a lot of stress and misunderstandings. It’s advisable to create a list of tasks that you want the paralegal to handle before the hiring process. More so, decide on how many hours he’ll be working per week and if you’ll be needing his services during the weekends. The skilled ones often work for different clients at the same time. In case you’re planning a project that will take a long period of time, inform him as early as possible.

  • Double check every task  

Hiring a virtual paralegal or personal assistant offers mutual benefits. Providing adequate information for each project will assist your paralegal to manage tasks effectively. Although most virtual paralegals often make sure that their work is delivered to their clients without any mistake, take time to review it too. It’s possible to detect some errors that he skipped as you check.

  • Define payment terms  

Discuss how payments will be processed at the very beginning of the relationship. Some of the factors that normally influence price include the paralegal’s qualifications and area of specialization. While some virtual paralegals prefer receiving payments once they are through with each assignment, others want to be paid on a weekly basis. Inasmuch as they aren’t full-time employees, it’s up to them to pay their own taxes and health insurance.