Monday, February 18, 2008

MPL Week - Meet MacVirtual

It's Macs Practice Law Week over at The Inspired Solo and TechnoEsq. They have invited attorneys practicing law with Macs to share their experiences. I'm a bit of a newbie with my Mac, but I'm so enthusiastic about how it is working for my virtual law practice that I thought I'd chime in.

I waited until MacWorld was over this year before purchasing my first Mac. I went live with my virtual law practice as a solo over two years ago and have been using an older PC from my law school days. I had loved using Macs in college but after law school had been using whatever PC was available wherever I happened to be working.

This year I decided to switch back to Mac. My virtual law office is a web application rather than software so it doesn’t have to be PC or Mac compatible, it can run on both. I went with the Mac Notebook. The Mac Air, although very cool, was a bit too pricey for me as a young solo…this year. I’ll stay optimistic about the future.

The nature of a completely virtual law office is that I practice wherever I can securely access the Internet. I live by the beach and the Cape Fear River. Sometimes I like to be outside and sometimes I like to take breaks and walk. My old laptop from law school weighs a ton and the battery runs out too fast. It was time for a change.

Since I have been researching the switch back to a MAC and discussing the vlo technology with other attorneys, I’ve found there is a significant group of Mac attorneys who are eager for law office technology that is compatible with the MAC. I’m hoping to sway more Mac-using attorneys over to the benefits of a MacVirtual practice or at least using it as a client and revenue generating product to build their practices.

My top reasons why the Mac Notebook works great for my virtual practice:

1. Using File Vault to encrypt my home directory so my data is protected even
if my laptop is stolen.

2. Time Machine automatically backs up the system.

3. The Mac goes to sleep better and rarely needs to be rebooted.

4. I can get over five hours of battery time out of it. Great for someone like
me who can’t sit still in one place for very long but wants to stay online.

5. Doesn’t give me a backache lugging it around.

6. Aesthetically pleasing design.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Legal Directories and a Virtual Law Office - What's Your Address?

This week I'm considering giving online legal directories another chance. As more and more attorneys are dropping out of Martindale Hubbell, I recently turned to Findlaw's online directory options.

I formerly had a listing with and was unhappy with the unprofessional splash page that they insisted on setting up for me. Why they would not link directly to my vlo, I am not sure. Because my vlo is a secure web application and clients can come to me directly through the online office, I did not have a need for's unsecure "email me" contact form that I was paying for each month. The one benefit was that the listing boosted my ranking in google which initially may have been worth the pricey fee. On to other options as I continue to grow my vlo and learn more law management practice tips along the way.

A basic Findlaw listing that links to my vlo would be great. Except they are not too familiar with a vlo and virtual law is not a separate category of law practice. Even though I work with clients online throughout the entire state, I would have to purchase a listing in each individual cities in the state. The expense here is mindboggling.

What is my address?'s a website address. The online directories have trouble categorizing you outside of the traditional law office setup. As more solos and law firms go online with Virtual Law Office Technology (VLOTech) and use a vlo to practice law, the usual law directory companies will have to come up with a different pricing structure that provides services that fit with a vlo's marketing needs.

One option might be to leave out the physical address requirement and let the vlo link to their vlo for the same price and if they want to add both a physical and a vlo link, then charge for both. I'm not an expert on how online directories operate. The customer reps at Findlaw have been efficient at giving me the information I need as far as pricing and services. However, I think if these companies want to stay on the cutting edge of legal technology trends they should start considering how their services can be useful and affordable for a virtual law practice.