Friday, March 25, 2011

Jenna Borum: Virtual Paralegal Practice Tips

Jenna Borum, paralegal and owner of Generate Legal, LLC, provided these practice tips for paralegals who have already established their virtual practice or plan to do that as their next career step.

Generate Legal, LLC provides virtual and outsourced paralegal services and support to licensed attorneys in the Baltimore, Maryland metro area and remotely via "The Cloud" to licensed attorneys across the country.

Jenna graduated from Villa Julie College (NKA Stevenson University) with a degree in Paralegal Studies – an ABA approved paralegal program. She brings over eight years of paralegal experience to her virtual practice and specializes in the areas of Civil Litigation, Plaintiff Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Premises Liability, Insurance Defense and Family Law.

She is a member of the Maryland Association of Paralegals (MAP) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

When Vicki asked me for a virtual paralegal practice tip, I couldn't just come up with one. So, here are several that I'd like to share with you:

1. Have a niche. You can't be all things to all people, so find your niche and stick with it. Sure, there is always room to grow and learn more, but you really need to have a succinct focus for your business, especially in the beginning.

2. Become an expert at something. Although, somewhat related to your niche, I think it helps to become an "expert" at something vital that your client needs and will come back to you for.

3. Have a referral system in place with other virtual paralegals. I can almost guarantee that at some point in your business, you will get a call from an attorney who needs help in an area that is not in your niche. If you both have the time to spend on a potential learning curve, then take care of the matter yourself. When you don’t have the time or if you are going on vacation, it is wise to have a virtual paralegal you can refer to. I also refer to legal virtual assistants (non paralegals) for certain administrative tasks that I don't offer clients.

4. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is a must. Never stop learning!

5. Set up Google alerts. This is a resource that will be helpful in all aspects of your business... from marketing to legal trends to legal tech - whatever is of interest to you. You never know what you'll find. Through Google alerts, I found a plagiarizing virtual paralegal who copied word for word a blog post of mine without giving me proper credit. Although, it is a form of flattery, it's still wrong. Thankfully, this particular incident ended without much hassle on my part and the removal of my wording from her post, but it certainly was an eye-opener.

6. Use a professional web-based legal practice management system, such as Clio, for your business. It will make your life easier from the beginning.

7. Have specific time(s) in the day to check business email and return calls to clients and potential clients. Of course, my clients can always get a hold of me in the event of an emergency.

8. Smile when you talk. Since virtual paralegals spend most of their time talking to clients by phone, smile when you talk. It makes communicating more pleasant.

I hope you find these tips helpful. I wish you much success in your virtual paralegal business.
Contact Jenna at Generate Legal, LLC  You may also want to get Sixty-Six SolidTips from your Virtual Paralegal Success Team (a free instant download), as well as the Virtual Paralegal Interview Series, a 4-CD set that includes over 4 hours of interviews with virtual paralegals who provide how-to's, resources, and advice for establishing a successful virtual business.

1 comment:

Bettie said...

Thank you for this post. The mention of Clio alone made it worth reading. I never knew about this cloud-based software and it sounds like the solution I was looking for. Thanks again!

Smile while talking is a valuable reminder as well. People can definitely "hear" a smile.