Dot com … c’mon already

If you ever daydreamed about a one-minute commute, in your slippers no less, then maybe you haven’t heard about the next big thing called the Internet.

Attorneys are slowly entering the world of establishing so-called virtual practices if a show of hands at the ABA Techshow in the Chicago Hilton is any indication. Of the 100-plus people attending a program Friday entitled “Web JD: If You’re Not Serving Your Clients Online, Someone Else Will,” about a half dozen raised their hands when asked who was practicing law over the Internet.

Canadian lawyer David Bilinsky of the Law Society of British Columbia said that establishing an online presence doesn’t have to mean jettisoning your office. It can be a relatively simply way to strengthen your relationships with existing clients and establish yourself as an expert in your field, Bilinsky said.

Co-panelist Steve Matthews of Stem Legal, based in Mission, British Columbia, Canada, agreed. But while lawyers haven’t been rushing to hang a shingle in cyberspace, those who have are going to give you a new sort of competition.

If you’re wondering what a virtual practice looks like, Bilinsky recommended taking a look at Donna Seale, who “built a practice in her pajamas.” She’s a Canadian lawyer who handles human rights in the workplace.

Matthews and Bilinsky noted that there are traps to avoid, particularly ethics issues related to multijurisdictional practices and miscommunication with clients due to the disjointed nature of conversing via email.

Even so, they said, a virtual practice ultimately can improve your quality of life by making you more efficient and generating more business.

~ by CDLB on April 3, 2009.

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