Stephanie Kimbro is a pioneer in establishing a virtual law practice and instructs others on the same endeavor, which she does through a variety of avenues, including presentations, blogs, tweeting, and now her book, Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online.
This book is just a must-read for anyone entertaining the idea of creating a virtual practice. That’s not to say you couldn’t be successful in that endeavor without the book; but, the benefit of having read it is easily worth every moment spent doing so.
Here’s the thing… Don’t open the book expecting a “How To” book, despite the title. While there is a great amount of instruction embedded in the very thorough amount of detail, the real “how-to” is fairly limited to the book’s fourth chapter. And, if you approach the entirety of the book exclusively looking for an instruction manual, you will not only be frustrated, but you will also overlook the broad wealth of information that Stephanie’s book provides.
At least the first half of Stephanie’s book is organized in a way that accommodates readers who are not particularly familiar with virtual law practices. She begins somewhat slowly, answering the most basic questions on the subject in her first chapter. Then, as she discusses the process of selecting a structure and technology for the practice, she presents even more background information, with a very natural, intuitive flow. With this knowledge, the reader can better appreciate the practical “how-to” information in the book’s fourth chapter, which really is a phenomenal instruction manual. And, although I might not know if Stephanie neglected to include anything here, it certainly doesn’t seem possible.
After addressing practical considerations, Stephanie devotes the fifth chapter to managing and marketing the virtual practice and the sixth to ethics and malpractice involved in operating the virtual practice, hopefully not in order of importance. The fifth chapter is really less about management (although a helpful rundown of best practices is included), and much more about marketing. The guidance on marketing is top-notch, truly. The thoroughly covered topics range from networking, to social media, to online advertising. And, with the discussion on various marketing policies, this chapter serves as a pretty comprehensive marketing plan.
Stephanie’s explanation of issues related to ethics and malpractice covers the basics, for sure. Beyond that, however, there isn’t too much. And rightly so, because as you do research on various issues that may occur to you, you would probably discover that not all that much definitive information exists. And as this area develops further, Stephanie’s blog is an excellent supplement, though “supplement” seems an odd word to describe such a remarkable resource.
Creating a virtual law practice is a big undertaking, and involves a great number of decisions, some considerably more complicated than others. Stephanie not only makes her reader aware of those decisions, but also offers impressive advice for each. Further, the case studies that appear throughout the book illuminate such advice, while also providing a source of motivation to the reader by creating an inspirational image of the potential for success that may come with establishing a virtual law practice.
But, don’t take my word for it. You can read Stephanie’s book yourself, as it is available from the LOMAP Lending Library.