Beyond the Virtual Law Firm: Thinking Outside the Cloud
Insight Michael Moradzadeh · February 21, 2011
Cloud technology allows attorneys to work anywhere they have a secure internet connection. This provides for greater flexibility, happier lawyers, higher profits, and better-served clients. However, a pure virtual law firm is not the answer. Law firms need to think outside the cloud: they need to utilize all the benefits of the 21st Century without throwing out the important aspects of traditional law firms in the process.
Virtual Law Firm, eLawyering, and Cloud-Based Law are all the latest buzz words in the cutting edge legal community. Lawyers have learned that they no longer need to be tethered to their desks. We can serve our clients better when we can work with them anywhere: whether it be from our offices or from theirs. Indeed, elimination of needless commutes and facetime allow for more efficient practices, allowing for more time focused on serving our clients and maybe even with our families. However, virtualization can definitely go too far. Attorneys are still human, and we need brick and mortar from time to time, and we still benefit from face to face interaction with our colleagues. That is why I advocate the Rimon model.
Rimon Law Group went virtual in March 2008. That model has served us very well. Our clients can video conference with our attorneys at any time. Our e-rooms allow for clients and attorneys to collaborate on documents in real time. And our cloud-based technology allows our attorneys to work anywhere in the world. However, we realized early on that community and informal interaction are key to a positive work environment and to innovation. The key benefit of a law firm is the ability to work with your colleagues and to learn from them. For this reason we decided to have brick and mortar offices. These offices are placed in key strategic areas close to clusters of our attorneys and clients. They serve as bases for our attorneys to meet clients, to meet with each other, and to just hang out.
Rimon's partners meet monthly at our corporate office in San Francisco (in person, by video, or by teleconference) to discuss deals we are working on, and to brainstorm on ways to better serve our clients. These sessions allow us to bring the expertise of the cross-section of practice areas to every deal, giving our attorneys a more holistic approach to their representations. It also allows our attorneys to know each other personally. This personal interaction is key to a collegial work place where attorneys know they can trust the work of their colleagues. This, in turn, not only makes our attorneys happier people, but it exponentially increases collaboration between attorneys.
Happier attorneys and better served clients: that is what happens when you go beyond the virtual law firm.