If you’re a lawyer, you have probably heard or read about virtual practices. In fact, according to results from the BA Legal Technology Survey Report, there’s a chance you may already be in one. In 2013, 5% of attorneys defined their practice as “virtual”. For those lawyers and anyone else considering a leap into the virtual world, Smith.ai is the perfect solution.
What is a virtual lawyer?
Before we can explain how Smith’s intelligence-based answering service can improve your legal business, we should define what we mean by a “virtual lawyer”. There are many interpretations of the term, and it has become a frequent discussion in industry publications, including the ABA Journal.
For us, a virtual lawyer is a solo practice or part of a small firm that is looking to free themselves from a physical location. They are mobile attorneys that conduct business on-the-go and are not tied to a desk. They work from wherever, maintaining a secure virtual office, while continuing to meet clients in person, or show up for court.
These busy professionals cannot depend on voicemail alone to handle messages and gather leads from prospective clients. That’s where Smith.ai comes in.
Secure answering service
Most lawyers have legal secretaries to handle their calls, and they have their advantages and drawbacks. One potential perk is fresh coffee delivered to your desk and a human to greet office visitors when they are busy, while a potential drawback is an overly chatty receptionist. Chatting and gossip amongst legal receptionists is, unfortunately, common. While a professional legal receptionist is ideally trained on confidentiality, many lawyers report difficulty in finding ones that follow that training and are consistently reliable.
Despite the potential drawbacks, you need a receptionist – especially if you are a virtual lawyer. If you do not have someone to answer your calls, be prepared to spend a good part of your day checking voicemails, getting spam calls, and being interrupted. Not only is that the least effective way to run your practice, our pro, attorney John Radshaw (of the Law Office of J.J. Radshaw) suggests, it is also risky. Voicemail messages can impact attorney-client privilege should a potential client leave a voicemail that is a bit too detailed.
Instead of a lengthy voicemail left to an impersonal messaging system, greet your business hours clients and potential clients with a Smith agent. You won't have to worry about them chatting with other clients or coworkers, and our technology makes it effortless for them to maintain confidentiality.
Virtual services for non-virtual lawyers
Even if you prefer the comforts of strategically-placed office, one with a welcoming reception area and friendly receptionist, you can still benefit from using Smith.ai. For example, our customized service can be used when you are away from the office for extended amounts of time, or to separate prospective clients from current ones.
With our service, you receive a personalized Smith number, customized voicemail with human transcription, and immediate call notification via text messaging — including prioritization, caller disposition, and spam filtering. You provide the number to whomever you choose, and we will answer calls during our business hours. Outside of our business hours, callers are greeted with a professionally recorded voicemail greeting, and their message is transcribed and delivered to you via email.
We’re even rolling out new technologies that will further improve every lawyer's ability to stay in touch with clients while still completing other tasks. Regardless of whether you call yourself a virtual lawyer, or if you prefer the familiarity of a dark leather and wood office, Smith.ai has the technology to support your practice – no matter where it’s located.