A virtual Legal assistant is a self-employed person who has the job of helping with specific office tasks that can be completed online through a third person. The tasks done by a virtual assistant can be incredibly specific or broad. A virtual legal assistant is a concept that is becoming very common now and more and more law firms are delegating work to such assistants. Virtual legal assistants can be inexpensive and effective at completing administrative tasks, while services of more specialised ones can be used for more complex tasks. Hiring a virtual assistant can help one reduce personal workload as they can do tasks that are not so important but need to be done or are time-consuming. Often legal virtual assistants bring their own expertise to the table that enhances the overall quality of work done by a lawyer.
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How to Become a Virtual Legal Assistant in India
A virtual assistant is a freelancer who provides online support to professional by working remotely. The virtual assistant’s job is to work from home only; there is no need to go into their client’s offices physically. If you want to become a virtual assistant, you need to know the basics about how to become one and what skills are needed.
Virtual legal assistants nowadays are in the form of virtual paralegals and legal secretaries that are the perfect solution to the varying needs of a law firm or in-house legal team. The lawyers work jointly with the assistants on single one time projects or permanent projects as a continuing outsourced legal support solution to achieve the desired outcome. Being a successful virtual legal assistant in India is not something that comes quick and easy for anybody. A person needs to possess requisite legal skills before he can be of any help to any legal professional.
There is no separate professional course required to become a virtual legal assistant. However, you must be familiar with the job you are applying for and proper knowledge about the work to be done. There is massive Business Process Outsourcing infrastructure gaining popularity in India, and most Indian legal virtual assistants work in these types of offices.
Work as a freelancer on your own terms and conditions or join an established company that provides you with clients
When you decide to start as a virtual legal assistant, there are two options- freelancing work for law firms or sign up as an assistant with an organisation that provides assistance on a temporary basis. If you go prefer freelancing, it is a good option as you’ll be on your own and so you will have full control over your client. You will get to decide working hours and your fees, and you can expand your work in whichever way you want. But if you take the other option, you will register as an assistant under an already established virtual assistant company. There are many companies that provide such services to other organisations.
The advantage of joining a company is that you do not need to make any efforts to seek work; they do the marketing for you and assign clients that suit your skills. This option lacks the risk factor, which will be there in freelancing as finding the right clients require a separate marketing process. But then working with a company also has the disadvantage as you will have to work under somebody on their terms and conditions.
Skills needed to become a Virtual Legal Assistant in India:
To become a successful legal virtual assistant, you must possess these qualities:
- Detail-oriented and quick learners-To become successful; you should be able to learn to do something you’ve never done before. An assistant is expected to embrace the working style of the lawyer he is working with and pick up new skills to perform the job assigned.
- Good communication skills- Working virtually requires good communication skills. A lot of information is to be discussed, which can be in a verbal or non- verbal form before a task is completed. If you are not a good communicator, you will not be able to understand the way in which work is to be done and fail to make a connection with your client leading to dissatisfaction to both of you.
- Adapting- Every person has a unique style of working. While working as a virtual legal assistant, you will have to from time to time, switch your style of working to suit your client. You might even be required to work at odd timings if the client is in a different time zone. Therefore, adapting is very important to succeed. You must actively clarify all the doubts and be ready to adapt to your client’s behaviour.
- Passion: Success is not guaranteed in any field, and the same is for starting as a virtual assistant. You must be a self-motivated individual and not give up easily because of mere difficulties. You should just focus on your work and be passionate about completing it on time. True passion will add value to your work and will get you more clients.
- Honesty: The client completely depends on the assistant for the work that has been assigned. Therefore, the virtual legal assistant needs to be reliable and must always present himself honestly, i.e. tell clearly of his capabilities and accomplishments. The client should be updated on the actual status of the task so that he knows of issues if any. The assistant should always ensure to resolve issues at the earliest to prevent any inconvenience to the client. Also, no tasks should be undertaken, of which you are not capable of. It is better to say no than to do anything just for the sake of doing it.
Virtual assistants should work smarter, not harder so that things are done quickly and more efficiently. The clients expect timely delivery, so assistants should try to deliver on time, set clear expectations for communication from the start and stay consistent on that. An assistant is more effective if he can help the clients find ways to save money in their business and help in making more money.
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Managing the workload in the legal profession is no easy task with loads of cases and handling various clients who demand a high level of productivity and low costs at the same time. Getting the right level of administrative support is the best option to keep clients happy and satisfied. Therefore, becoming a virtual legal assistant is a great option to make use of your skills with a variety of clients. A person is not restricted in any way while working virtually and therefore has more opportunities to explore.
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