In the previous post we noted the increasing trend of solo practitioners and micro-boutique law firms. While there are very attractive benefits for attorneys in these practices, a unique set of challenges are present as well. Virtual law firms, in particular, have to address credibility concerns. Partnering with a virtual office service provider (VOSP) can help, and the more common strategies to enhance a firm's professional image are:
- Obtain a prestigious business address by renting a mailbox at a VOSP. A professional address commands respect and projects a certain level of success and longevity for the business. The law firm can then use this address on its business cards, website, business listing, and marketing materials. Certain VOSPs will even allow the firm’s clients to drop off and pick up documents at that business address without the attorney even being present – clients need not know that the attorney is not in the office.
- Meet clients or conduct depositions in a professional meeting space. The attorney may not want to meet clients at his or her home, for security reasons, or at a busy coffee shop to discuss confidential matters. VOSPs rent out hourly office suites and meeting rooms so the attorney can conduct private meetings. The attorney’s clients will be treated to a professional, upscale office environment that is more conducive for such conferences. If the attorney has a high volume of client meetings, however, then a full-time office suite—offered by some VOSPs—may be more economical and help save time that would be spent commuting from meeting to meeting.
- Use a professional call answering service. During calls, clients do not want to hear kids or lawn mowers in the background. Neighborhood noise is distracting, unprofessional and often annoying to clients, especially when they are paying a premium rate for the attorney’s services. With the right call answering service that announces calls to the attorney, he or she can decide whether to take the call or pass along a message to the caller. A good, personalized call answering service projects a more established business and ensures that the firm’s clients are treated well.
By deploying these strategies, a solo or small law firm can be more competitive in attracting and retaining clients.