Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Billable Hour Must Die - ABA Article

This is the comment I posted to an article entitled, "The Billable Hour Must Die", by Scott Turow, published in the ABA Journal's August issue.

“I am hoping that lawyers, especially litigators, will more often be bold enough to consider offering clients alternative billing arrangements.”

I agree with this statement made by Turow in his article. It was taking an initial risk professionally, but I have been practicing law online from a virtual law office where I can offer clients price quotes and fixed fees for my services. It's similar to the "fair fee" system Turow mentions in the article. It lets my clients know upfront what they can expect to pay so that they may budget for it.

The system has a learning period for the attorney to figure out the balance of how many hours it will take to do a project and then equate that with a fee based on the initial consultation with a client. However, the client response to this system of paying for legal services has been great. I'm hoping more attorneys will consider this or at least integrate it along with their current billing methods. Virtual law practice is also a great way to provide cost-effective services to clients. Without the overhead of a physical law office it also makes sense for the attorney.

If anyone is interested in how it works, Virtual Law Office Technology (VLO Tech) provides software that sets up virtual law offices for attorneys (patent pending). Again, I've been practicing law completely online for over a year now and the public response has been very positive. It provides a good alternative to the traditional billing system.

Supporting Virtual Law Practices

Keeping up with blogging has been impossible between running my online law practice, raising an 18 month old and forming a new software company. I'll do my best to provide a brief update.

In June, we filed a patent for the virtual law office software and business method. We formed a company called Virtual Law Office Technology, LLC (VLOTech). The company provides software that connects legal professionals to the online community. To view a beta version of the software, please visit my law practice, Kimbro Legal Services at www.kimbrolaw.com. We have drafted a detailed business plan and are currently seeking angel or other investors to assist in getting the company up and running.

A handful of attorneys in several states have shown interest in being some of the first attorneys in their states to set up virtual law practices. A couple are interested in integrating them into their existing practices and others are interested in having a completely virtual, homebased law practice. I have about a couple attorneys a month contacting me and that's with zero marketing effort. I'm very excited about the potential that this has not only to offer a greater work/life balance for attorneys and another way to profit in their businesses, but also that it will offer more affordable and accessible legal services to the public.

After over two years of research on the virtual law office as a business method for the legal profession, I feel very strongly that it is a great alternative way of providing unbundled legal services. An attorney could combine it with an existing brick & mortar law office and expand their client base to anywhere in the state(s) in which they are licensed to practice law. The software and business method provide for a number of different business applications. When we have more marketing materials ready for the company, I'll post a link to those and the demo of the software. For now, we are working hard on the website content for VLOTech.