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WSSFC Technology Track Session 11 Setting Up and Running a Remote Virtual Office Gregory J. Banchy Banchy Law Center LLC, Eau Claire Michael F. Brennan The Virtual Attorney, Grayslake, IL Link to Prezi Presentation included in this session: http://prezi.com/mer0rlsmwija/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

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  • WSSFC Technology Track

    Session 11

    Setting Up and Running a

    Remote Virtual Office

    Gregory J. Banchy Banchy Law Center LLC, Eau Claire

    Michael F. Brennan The Virtual Attorney, Grayslake, IL

    Link to Prezi Presentation included in this session:

    http://prezi.com/mer0rlsmwija/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

    http://prezi.com/mer0rlsmwija/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

  • 1-Banchy & Brennan

    SETTING UP AND RUNNING A REMOTE VIRTUAL LAW OFFICE

    GREGORY J. BANCHY MICHAEL F. BRENNAN

    BANCHY LAW CENTER, LLC THE VIRTUAL ATTORNEY

    Introduction to virtual law practices and their use as law practice management platforms

    Definition

    Virtual Law Practice permits the attorney to interact with clients completely online through

    technological means. This removes the need for a brick and mortal office and the costs

    associated with one. The virtual law office also gives lawyers increased flexibility to work from

    practically anywhere at any time. Cloud computing, storage and software enable the attorney to

    essentially “bring the practice” on the road to anywhere with internet access. This in turn means:

    a) lower costs for clients; b) enhanced accessibility; c) increased flexibility; and d) high-standard

    legal service not otherwise seen online with businesses like Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom.

    Virtual Law Offices can be defined any number of ways depending on who you ask. While

    technology plays a central role in their operation, the reality is that most, if not all firms are

    operating, at least in some sense, “virtually”. Whether it is the use of cloud-based document

    storage or an SaaS (Software as a Service) accounting platform, like Intuit Quickbooks, most

    firms incorporate at least some measure of “Virtual” functionality into their operations.

    A 100% Virtual Law Office incorporates multiple virtual functions into a law firm model that

    enables attorneys and support staff to access essential firm functions, documents and client files

    at any time and from anywhere.

    Common characteristics

    Virtual Law Firms commonly possess most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

    Lack of a traditional office space

    Secure Web-based client portal with

    unique client login credentials***

    Cloud document storage and access

    SaaS Accounting, Billing, Invoicing,

    Bookkeeping, Calendaring, etc.

    Video Conferencing and real time

    document collaboration

    Electronic signature capabilities

    Unbundled, Limited Scope or “a la

    carte” legal services

    Web-based phone and fax services

    Document Automation

    Virtual support services

    Minimal in-person contact with

    clients

  • 2-Banchy & Brennan

    Benefits

    Virtual Law Firms offer a number of benefits to both the client and the attorney.

    These include: Extensive geographical reach

    Lean operations and operational flexibility

    24 hour accessibility to files and records from anywhere with an internet connection

    Scheduling flexibility

    Minimal operational expense and low overhead which can be converted into more

    attractive client pricing

    Client flexibility to work with the attorney from their home or work during traditional or

    non-traditional work hours when it fits into their daily routine

    Draw-backs

    While the virtual model offers a number of benefits, it does have some limitations which must be

    considered when determining how the firm should be structured. Limitations of the virtual model

    include:

    Limitations on the types of services the firm can effectively provide.

    Public and potential client unfamiliarity with the virtual firm structure and its benefits

    Confusion with other “quasi-legal” companies like Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom

    Professional isolation

    Potentially challenging to find confidence in a virtual model if the attorney is not

    proficient in current technology

    Traditionally a high-volume model which means that marketing needs to be a primary

    focus

    Client Acquisition and Target Market

    Virtual Law Firms can find success by focusing on marketing to potential clients from some non-

    traditional target demographics. For example, a Virtual Law Office may find success by

    developing a marketing strategy geared towards the acquisition of:

    Young families and young professionals with limited flexibility to meet with attorneys

    during traditional business hours.

    Entrepreneurial types, startups, technology-themed small businesses in fields like

    ecommerce, app development, web design and consulting, etc.

    Pro Se litigants needing legal assistance in the drafting of court documents in areas like

    family law and divorce.

    Technologically fluent individuals who prefer to work through online means.

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    How to spot ethical issues specific to virtual law offices and potential ways to mitigate such

    risks.

    Operating a Virtual Law Office can be an ethical minefield if ethical issues are not identified and

    procedures not put in place before problems arise. Ethical issues common to Virtual Law Offices

    commonly fall into one of three primary areas: 1) unbundling legal services and limited scope

    representation, 2) cloud computing, storage and security, and 3) the unauthorized practice of law.

    Unbundling and limited representation

    “A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the

    circumstances and the client gives informed consent.” SRC 20:1.2(c).

    ABA comment (emphasis in italics added): Although this Rule affords the lawyer and client

    substantial latitude to limit the representation, the limitation must be reasonable under the

    circumstances. If, for example, a client's objective is limited to securing general information

    about the law the client needs in order to handle a common and typically uncomplicated legal

    problem, the lawyer and client may agree that the lawyer's services will be limited to a brief

    telephone consultation. Such a limitation, however, would not be reasonable if the time allotted

    was not sufficient to yield advice upon which the client could rely. Although an agreement for

    a limited representation does not exempt a lawyer from the duty to provide competent

    representation, the limitation is a factor to be considered when determining the legal

    knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the

    representation.

    Virtual practitioners should articulate best practices and develop standard operating

    procedures for determining the scope of representation and ensuring that the client

    understands that scope.

    Engagement letters should specifically set out what the attorney will and will not do for

    the client.

    Clients should be given ample opportunity to ask questions about processes and the

    extent of work that may be necessary in their particular case so that the client is fully

    informed of the tasks he or she may need to undertake outside of the attorney’s

    representation on the matter.

    o For example, a virtual lawyer preparing a will for a client must make clear that the

    document needs to be executed in a specific matter in order to be valid. If the

    attorney is not supervising or coordinating the document execution, it is good

    practice to put that limitation in writing, explain the limitation to the client and

    require the client to consent to the limitation in writing.

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    Cloud computing, storage and security

    Cloud computing and data/document storage is a central component of Virtual Law Office

    operation. While it offers tremendous flexibility for attorneys to work from anywhere at any

    time, care must be taken in order to ensure that client confidentiality is upheld and security of

    sensitive data remains a primary concern. Some hot spots for virtual practitioners to consider and

    act on, as appropriate are:

    Cloud service user agreements.

    Physical and Technological Server Security. The attorney should be aware of where

    data is physically kept, where the provider’s servers and data storage facilities are

    located, the security measures the company takes to protect the data on its servers,

    including physical and technological security.

    National Server Location. Whether the servers are located within the United States.

    Storage of data on non-US based servers may lead to unanticipated and unwanted legal

    implications.

    Data extraction and migration rights and capabilities. Will the firm be able to easily

    extract data stored with the third party upon termination of the user contract? What

    procedures are in place to give assurances that the process is effective?

    Subpoena requests. Attorneys should inquire into what the company’s response to a

    subpoena for the production of data would be.

    Unauthorized Practice of Law and Conflict Checks

    A primary benefit of the Virtual Law Office model is that it offers solo attorneys, or small groups

    of attorneys, to expand their geographic reach. Through the internet, attorneys are capable of

    serving clients located outside of their own region. While the potential for client base growth is

    substantial, attorneys must be careful to ensure that they are only serving clients in areas in

    which they are authorized to practice law.

    Best practices should be developed to ensure that:

    Mechanisms are in place to screen potential clients located outside of areas in which the

    attorney(s) is licensed to provide legal services, and

    Systems are developed that enable the firm to run conflict checks on new clients to

    ensure that there is no conflict of interest

    "How-tos" of virtual law office operation, including tools, techniques and case studies

    A Virtual Law Office Case study | The Virtual Attorney

    The Virtual Attorney was founded in 2010 as a 100% Virtual Law Office assisting clients

    throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

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    Services offered

    The firm offers estate planning and business law services. However, it does not typically offer

    complex estate planning unless special arrangements are made, nor does it take part in business

    litigation, employment disputes, probate or estate litigation. Services are packaged and delivered

    at flat rates, for example a “Will Package” which includes powers of attorney for health and

    property, a living will, memorandum distributing tangible property, and estate information

    organizer. Additional unbundled or “a la carte” services are available as add-ons, for example, a

    document execution ceremony, in-person conferences, transfer of specific assets to trust, deed

    drafting and filing, etc.

    This model coincides with the target market of the firm- startups and entrepreneurs getting their

    operations up and running, small businesses, young families with smaller estates and individuals

    for which tax planning and complex estate distribution is not a concern.

    Take Away: Like any law firm model, it is essential in the virtual legal world to define what

    your deliverables and clients are going to be and are not going to be.

    All services include:

    o Free 30 minute initial consultation

    o Drafting and sending of personalized engagement letter outlining services, rights and

    responsibilities.

    o Intake form and information gathering and analysis

    o Routine emails, phone calls, video conferences, status updates, and other routine

    communications directly related to the purchased services.

    o Draft documents for review and sign off at which time a final executable document will

    be provided.

    o Unlimited modifications to draft documents.

    o Letter explaining specifics of purchased services and documents.

    o Detailed instructions on how to execute the purchased documents.

    o Disengagement letter ending representation.

    o Client satisfaction survey

    Take Away: It is essential that Virtual Law Offices have a clear description of what their

    services include due to the non-traditional billing structure that most follow (either flat fee or flat

    fee with “a la carte” flat fee add on services).

    Typical representation from start to finish

    A flow chart of typical attorney-client involvement is included at the end of these materials.

    What should be noted is the standardized model for attorney client communication. By

    specifically defining the services the firm delivers to clients and billing at flat rates, the attorney

  • 6-Banchy & Brennan

    is able to add predictability to a typical representation which in turn enables the attorney to

    standardize, calendar and track every matter in the same way.

    Client Base

    By operating virtually, the firm is able to serve clients throughout a large geographic region

    without the additional cost and logistical complexity involved in travel. The firm in centralized

    in Lake County, IL, half way between Milwaukee and Chicago but has clients from Springfield,

    IL up through Duluth, MN. These clients are typically comfortable using technology, including

    cloud-based software and video conferencing.

    Take Away. Virtual practice enables a solo attorney, or small group of attorneys to serve a client

    base spread throughout a large geographic area, even if the attorneys themselves are centrally

    located.

    Essential tools

    Low overhead is a primary benefit of virtual practice. Essentially, the firm can be operated out of

    a computer bag. Aside from the hardware listed below, all of these programs are cloud-based and

    low-cost (in many cases free).

    Hardware

    HP Pavilion dv7 Notebook

    IPad and IPhone for mobile

    HP 2511x monitor for office work

    Lexmark MX330 all in one for scan/fax/print

    Practice management

    Templates and intake forms. Standard intakes for estate planning, business formation,

    etc. Templates are programmed into My Case practice management suite to automatically

    populate documents, letters, etc. with personal information.

    Calendaring. My Case calendaring with automated reminders programmed for tasks and

    follow-ups.

    Invoicing, payments and accounting. Itemized invoicing coordinated with My Case

    client portal accessible suite. Duplicate invoice through Wave Accounting platform is

    emailed to client with link to pay by credit card. Accounting through Wave Accounting

    platform with Intuit Quickbooks for comprehensive bookkeeping. All invoicing,

    accounting, payment processing and bookkeeping is cloud-based, accessible anywhere, at

    any time and manageable by the attorney or internal support staff with general accounting

    knowledge.

    Client Communication

    Video conferencing. Both Skype and Google Hangouts are used for client meetings

    where face-to-face communication is important. These essentially take the place of in-

  • 7-Banchy & Brennan

    person sit downs. Both programs are free to use. The only necessary hardware is a

    webcam.

    Email. Used for very general communications and to welcome the client to the firm and

    explain how to access and use the client portal, which then becomes the primary method

    of communication.

    Secure portal links. Each new client receives a unique username and password to access

    his or her portal. The Virtual Attorney uses My Case (mycase.com), however, numerous

    options are available for the virtual practitioner to explore (see Practice Management

    Options).

    Fax and.phone. These are still necessities in the virtual practitioner’s world, however,

    cloud based options are available to enable the attorney to work away from the office.

    (see Virtual Support Services)

    Document Management

    Docusign. Docusign enables the attorney to send items like engagement letters and

    conflict waivers to clients for review and electronic signature, thus removing the

    requirement for in-person meetings to sign these items and removing the hassle of

    emailing, printing, signing, scanning back into the computer, and emailing back to the

    attorney. With Docusign, template agreements can be stored and automated email

    reminders can be programmed that alert clients to unsigned documents still awaiting their

    signature.

    Storage. The Virtual Attorney is a paperless* firm, so documents are all stored

    electronically. Primary storage is cloud based through the My Case practice management

    platform. My Case runs on Amazon servers, so data security is not a concern.

    Backups and redundancy. All client and firm documents are backed up in two places- on

    the computer hard drive and on external hard drive, so there are, at minimum, three

    accessible copies of any given document, accessible both from the office, or remotely via

    the cloud-based copy.

    Take Away: A Virtual Law Office requires minimal hardware and software to run effectively.

    The total monthly operational expense cost for what is summarized above (excluding licensing,

    insurance, etc.) is less than $100 per attorney. Total initial hardware costs were less than $2,500.

    Practice Management Options

    The practice management suite is the essential hub for the Virtual Law Office. Practitioners have

    a number of options, depending on which features are of primary concern. Traditional practice

    management suites can work; however, those described below are commonly found in Virtual

    Law Offices.

    See the Practice Management Comparison for Virtual Law Offices chart at the end of these

    materials.

  • 8-Banchy & Brennan

    Pricing

    Unbundling legal services and providing services virtually are naturally geared towards the

    potential incorporation of non-traditional billing models. Specifically, flat fee billing for

    specified services or packages with the inclusion of flat-fee add-ons can be used to tailor a legal

    solution to a specific client and his or her unique needs.

    Base Packages. Standard packages that form a baseline solution for common client needs with a

    flat rate cost. For example:

    “Will Package for a Married Couple”

    Will for each spouse (with the inclusion of a testamentary trust, if appropriate)

    Power of Attorney for Health Care for each spouse

    Power of Attorney for Property for each spouse

    Living Will for each spouse

    Memorandum Distributing Personal Property for each spouse

    Estate Information Organizer for each spouse

    Regular communications and document draft updates

    Add On A La Carte Deliverables. The Base Plan is then tailored to include static cost additions

    to meet the specific clients goals and objectives. For example, the addition of a revocable living

    trust or a HIPAA release and authorization. A confidential and current pricing schedule is kept

    within the firm which sets forth the specifics involved in the service add on and the cost. After

    client consult, these are presented to the client as part of the engagement letter automatically, or

    with the option to include them by initialing next to the described service. An example of an Add

    On Service Schedule is included at the end of these materials along with a sample engagement

    letter used for this type of service and pricing structure.

    Environmental considerations

    Internet Access.

    Whether the office operates as a remote to a central office or as an independent standalone

    “office” electronic access to resources is an important part of any virtual practice. Access to the

    Internet can be provided by a use of one or more “leased lines”, which are private connections to

    other locations such as a central office, or by use of high speed services provided by one or more

    “ISPs” , or Internet Service Providers, or on an ad hoc basis. Ad hoc access might, for example,

    include the use of dial up services or by use of wi-fi services at client locations or even public

    facilities such as restaurants. High speed services are common in most areas of the country

    today, and include options such as DSL and Cable. These services are usually contracted though

    companies like AT&T, Charter, Time Warner and the like. In some smaller communities high

    speed service may be limited, which may require the firm to use older (slower) technology such

    as ISDN (or even dial access). Some providers, such as companies with cable offerings (like

  • 9-Banchy & Brennan

    Charter Communications), offer a range of service options. For example, Charter

    Communications offers at least two different options – one they call “Plus”, which provides

    access at up to 30 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload, and one they call “ulta,” which provides

    access at up to 100 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. The main differences are speed and

    cost.

    One of the primary issues that must be considered when choosing between different transmission

    options is how much data will need to be sent or received (on average – it does not make sense to

    plan just for the extremes). This often varies based on the type of work being done; do users

    send one or two small documents at a time or large amounts of data? Also, how much delay,

    sometimes known as “latency”, can the application/use tolerate? For example, if the line is being

    used to support voice (VOIP), latency can be an issue – delays often cause bad connections or

    echoing. Applications that utilize some type of database (e.g., SQL) expect updates within a

    certain period of time and “time out” if the data is not delivered within predetermined

    parameters. Thus, it is important to understand how the data connection will be utilized before

    choosing an Internet provider or options available for the provider. Finally, in most cases, only

    data should be exchanged over the Internet; loading programs (such as Microsoft Word) over the

    Internet will almost never perform acceptably and should almost always be avoided unless

    absolutely necessary. The only time it makes sense to run programs over a remote connection is

    when the application is “web based” – applications that run in a web browser such as Google

    Chrome or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    Remote Access Security and Use Policies - generally.

    If the virtual office (e.g., maybe a user sitting at a restaurant) is connected to a central or other

    remote office and needs to access and/or share data with that office, sensitive data is likely to be

    exchanged at some point. If the connection is running over a public network like the Internet

    (especially over public or semi-public wi-fi, such as at a restaurant or coffee shop), it is essential

    that all data being sent back and forth be adequately protected. It is not enough to have access

    passwords – these do nothing to protect the data in transit. Another user sitting in the same

    general vicinity (e.g., another patron in the restaurant) can easily “see” the traffic and may be

    able to intercept it without a person even being aware of what is happening. In establishing an

    appropriate security policy for transmitting data over the Internet, consider including options

    such as:

    -Virtual private networking (VPNs)

    -Encryption of data

    -Digital certificates

    -Firewalls (hardware and/or software)

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    Also, if access is from a small remote office, the “inside” network (where each group of

    computers, printers and other peripherals are located) should have appropriate security measures

    in place to secure wireless networks. Wireless networks typically broadcast their availability –

    these signals can often be seen by others, even outside of a house or other building. Unless the

    network is secure (use of WPA or WPA2 instead of WEP on wireless access points and routers),

    it is possible for cyber thieves to get onto the network, possibly gaining access to sensitive data.

    “WEP” (Wired Equivalent Privacy), for example, is fairly easy to “break” – there are programs

    that are publically available for doing this – thieves can literally sit in a car outside of a building

    (e.g., a person’s house), and gain access.

    -Practice pointer – do not “broadcast” network SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers), if

    possible.

    Remote Access Security Policies - smartphones.

    Many people use tablets and smartphones to receive emails and other forms of communication

    potentially involving sensitive data. Security policies are important because these devices can be

    stolen or lost, leaving the data in the hands of a potential cyber-thief. Policies should, at a

    minimum, address issues such as:

    -Password or passcode controls to open the device.

    -The type of data being stored.

    -How long it is kept (most email programs, for example can be set up to only retain email

    for a day, week, month or other period).

    -A method for securely encrypting sensitive data.

    -A method for “wiping” the device clean remotely (or upon the occurrence of some event

    – e.g., a certain number of unsuccessful login attempts).

    Data Security and Integrity

    Most organizations which maintain IT departments have rigorous controls in place on their data

    networks because data is often the lifeblood of the organization. This is also true for lawyers,

    who regularly maintain highly sensitive data on their firm’s computers, laptops and mobile

    devices. This is true whether there are one or two lawyers in a small firm, or many more in a

    large firm, and whether data is kept and/or accessed centrally or available to lawyers and staff at

    remote (virtual) facilities. Regardless of where the data is stored, policies should be established

    which deal with authentication, authorization and accounting – sometimes referred to as “AAA”.

    -Authentication. Is the person attempting to gain access to the data who they claim to be?

    Authentication provides a method for identifying a user, often by requiring the user to enter a

    valid user name and password before access is granted. In order to achieve this objective it is

    important that each user have a unique set of credentials for gaining access. Credentials should

  • 11-Banchy & Brennan

    not be shared, and passwords should be “strong” (hard to crack) and changed with some degree

    of regularity. Also, passwords should not be kept on the computer (e.g., yellow sticky).

    - Authorization. Control over what data a user can access and for what purpose. For

    example, only certain users should have access to payroll data, and even fewer the right to

    modify the data. To put it another way, authorization is the process of enforcing policies:

    determining what types or qualities of activities, resources, or services a user can access.

    Usually, authorization occurs within the context of authentication; once a user has been

    authenticated, the system may limit what they are authorized to see or do.

    -Accounting. Accounting keeps track of what users have accessed, changed or used, and

    is typically carried out by logging of session statistics and usage information. If data is deleted,

    for example, there should be a record of who did it, when and from which device. There should

    also be a way of retrieving data lost through it being mistakenly deleted or changed – some sort

    of backup is essential. Here is where cloud backup of certain data may be desirable.

    Data integrity. Data integrity refers to processes and techniques for maintaining the accuracy of

    data. The opposite of data integrity is data corruption. For example, payroll records, if changed,

    can result in inaccurate payments to employees. The overall intent of any data integrity policy is

    to ensure that the data is recorded exactly as intended (such as a database correctly rejecting

    mutually exclusive updates) and upon later retrieval, ensuring it is still the same as it was when it

    was originally recorded; in other words the goal is to prevent unintentional changes to

    information. Problems related to data integrity can result from a variety of causes, including

    malicious intent, unexpected hardware or software failures (e.g, a system crash during the middle

    of an update), and good old human error. Even small office (a single remote user) must have

    some checks and balances in place to maintain the integrity of their data.

    Useful Tools for Virtual Law Office Operation

    Virtual support services

    Internet-based Phone Options

    Skype (VOIP)(Skype.com) | Skype enables users to make video and voice calls to anyone

    else with a Skype account for free from the computer or tablet/smartphone apps. Calls to

    mobile phones and landlines are an additional charge ($3/month for unlimited domestic

    calling). Webcam required for video calls.

    Google Voice (routing and management) (Google.com/voice) | Free Internet based call

    management and routing service. Customer number assignment, calls forwarded to cell

    phone or office phone, voicemail transcriptions sent via text and/or email.

    Internet Based Fax

    My Fax (myfax.com) | Send and receive faxes through MyFax or via email, free fax

    number, no need for a fax machine. As low as $10/month.

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    Fax Zero (faxzero.com | Free service, but includes Fax Zero logo on the cover page

    (removed for $1.99 per fax). Cannot receive faxes. Can link directly to PayPal account

    for the payment of any necessary fees.

    Hello Fax | (Hellofax.com) | Similar features to MyFax with additional functionality that

    permits you to edit and sign fax documents online. Sign in using Google credentials and

    sync faxes to Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive or Evernote. $10/month for 300 pages

    per month.

    Virtual Receptionist

    Ruby Receptionist (callruby.com) | Virtual receptionist services. Forward your own

    phone number for use. Plans start at $249/month. Data collection instructions and

    individual call forwarding instructions are customizable for each firm member. Overflow

    support if phones aren’t initially answered in the office. Written messages sent by text or

    email.

    My Receptionist (myreceptionist.com) |Virtual receptionist services with optional add-on

    services like online scheduling and booking. Plans start at $70/month.

    Gabbyville (gabbyville.com) | Similar features to Ruby Receptionist with ability to select

    hold music and coordinate conference calls via virtual receptionists. Plans start at

    $99/month

    Bookkeeping

    Bench (Bench.co) | Professional bookkeepers, not just bookkeeping software. Connect

    bank accounts to Bench for automatic transaction upload. In app feature allowing the

    client to message directly with their bookkeeper. Access to bench is sharable with

    additional parties, like your accountant. Plans start at $125/month.

    Accounting and Billing

    QuickBooks (quickbooks.intuit.com) | Cloud based option. Track sales and expenses, invoicing

    and payment processing. Detailed reports. Industry standard for many small business

    accountants. Account integration for automatic import of income and expense transactions. Links

    to some practice management solutions, like MyCase. Plans start at $12.95/month.

    Wave (Waveapps.com) | Free service. Simplified reports with less functionality than Quickbooks,

    but more intuitive for those with less accounting and bookkeeping knowledge. Email based

    invoicing and no monthly fee online credit card payment capabilities. One downside currently is

    the system’s default towards accrual based accounting which requires some manual workarounds

    if the firm is cash based.

    Xero (Xero.com) | New cloud-based accounting platform with a very user-friendly layout.

    Connection to hundreds of third party apps to allow cross-platform integration. Small plans start

    at $9/month.

  • 13-Banchy & Brennan

    Productivity and Storage

    Dropbox (dropbox.com) | Cloud-based document storage and collaboration platform built for

    easy access and sharing between multiple users. User-friendly apps for desktop, mobile and wed-

    based users enable easy access and intuitive workflow. Two-step verification and password

    control for added security of sensitive information. Plans start at $10/month per user.

    SpiderOak (spideroak.com) | Cloud-based document storage. Zero-knowledge privacy policy

    means that only the user, and not even SpiderOak has the ability to decrypt user data. User

    controlled encryption passwords required to decrypt data. Spider Oak does not even keep record

    of the keys (so if you lose it, it’s gone). Different encryption model than Dropbox in that Spider

    Oak encrypts data before it leaves your computer. More limited feature set than Dropbox due to

    heightened security. Free plan (2GB storage) or paid plan starting at $10/month

    DocuSign (Docusign.com) |cloud based e-signature platform. Upload document drafts or utilize

    in-system templates. Send to multiple users for signature. Dictate the required order of signatures

    and include optional signatures or initials. Set user-specific reminders to ensure documents are

    signed in a timely fashion. Plans start at $10/month.

  • 14-Banchy & Brennan

    For additional resources on Virtual Law Offices, check out:

    Book list additional reading

    1. 1: Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online (Stephanie Kimbro)

    2. Cloud Computing for Lawyers (Nicole Black)

    3. Solo by Choice (Carolyn Elefant)

    4. How to Start and Build a Law Practice (Jay Foonberg)

    5. Information Security for Lawyers and Law Firms (Sharon D. Nelson, David Isom, John

    Simek, editors)

    6. Reinventing the Practice of Law (Luz Herrara)

    Websites

    1. elawyering.com- ABA elawyering section

    2. virtuallawpractice.com- information regarding virtual law practice news from around the

    country

    3. Burton-Law LLC, Ohio, North Carolina (www.burton-law.com)

    4. The Virtual Attorney, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota (thevirtualattorney.com)

    5. Hoeft Law, LLC , Wisconsin (hoeftlaw.com)

    6. Rachel Rodgers Law Office, P.C., New York (rachelrodgerslaw.com)

    7. Michigan Online Lawyer.com, Michigan (michiganonlinelawyer.com)

    Suggested Electronic Reading

    1. Guidelines for the Use of Cloud Computing in Law Practice, ABA eLawyering Task Force

    2. Suggested Minimum Requirements for Law Firms Delivering Legal Services Online, ABA

    eLawyering Task Force

    3. Technology: The Ethics of Cloud-based Services, Petro Jr., Nerino, Wisconsin Lawyer

    Volume 89 Number 5, September 2012.

    http://www.burton-law.com/

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    APPENDIX A: Ethics Rules relating to the Virtual Practice of Law; Selections from the

    Wisconsin Statutes

    Limiting the Scope of Representation

    SCR 20:1.2 Scope of representation and allocation of authority between lawyer and client

    (a) Subject to pars. (c) and (d), a lawyer shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the

    objectives of representation and, as required by SCR 20:1.4, shall consult with the client as to the

    means by which they are to be pursued. A lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as

    is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. A lawyer shall abide by a client's decision

    whether to settle a matter. In a criminal case or any proceeding that could result in deprivation of

    liberty, the lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a

    plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial and whether the client will testify.

    (b) A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does

    not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social or moral views or

    activities.

    (c) A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable

    under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.

    (d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the

    lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any

    proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith

    effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.

    (e) When a lawyer has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured pursuant to the

    terms of an agreement or policy requiring the insurer to retain counsel on the client's behalf, the

    representation may be limited to matters related to the defense of claims made against the

    insured. In such cases, the lawyer shall, within a reasonable time after being retained, inform the

    client in writing of the terms and scope of the representation the lawyer has been retained by the

    insurer to provide.

    ABA Comments on limited scope representation

    Agreements Limiting Scope of Representation

    [6] The scope of services to be provided by a lawyer may be limited by agreement with

    the client or by the terms under which the lawyer's services are made available to the client.

    When a lawyer has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured, for example, the

    representation may be limited to matters related to the insurance coverage. A limited

    representation may be appropriate because the client has limited objectives for the

    representation. In addition, the terms upon which representation is undertaken may exclude

    specific means that might otherwise be used to accomplish the client's objectives. Such

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    limitations may exclude actions that the client thinks are too costly or that the lawyer regards as

    repugnant or imprudent.

    [7] Although this Rule affords the lawyer and client substantial latitude to limit the

    representation, the limitation must be reasonable under the circumstances. If, for example, a

    client's objective is limited to securing general information about the law the client needs in

    order to handle a common and typically uncomplicated legal problem, the lawyer and client may

    agree that the lawyer's services will be limited to a brief telephone consultation. Such a

    limitation, however, would not be reasonable if the time allotted was not sufficient to yield

    advice upon which the client could rely. Although an agreement for a limited representation does

    not exempt a lawyer from the duty to provide competent representation, the limitation is a factor

    to be considered when determining the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation

    reasonably necessary for the representation. See Rule 1.1.

    [8] All agreements concerning a lawyer's representation of a client must accord with the

    Rules of Professional Conduct and other law. See, e.g., Rules 1.1, 1.8 and 5.6.

    Unauthorized Practice of Law

    SCR 20:5.5 Unauthorized practice of law; multijurisdictional practice of law

    (a) A lawyer shall not:

    (1) practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal

    profession in that jurisdiction except that a lawyer admitted to practice in Wisconsin does not

    violate this rule by conduct in another jurisdiction that is permitted in Wisconsin under SCR

    20:5.5 (c) and (d) for lawyers not admitted in Wisconsin; or

    (2) assist another in practicing law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation

    of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.

    (b) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not:

    (1) except as authorized by this rule or other law, establish an office or maintain a

    systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or

    (2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to the practice

    of law in this jurisdiction.

    (c) Except as authorized by this rule, a lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this

    jurisdiction but who is admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States and not

    disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction for disciplinary reasons or for medical

    incapacity, may not provide legal services in this jurisdiction except when providing services on

    an occasional basis in this jurisdiction that:

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    (1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this

    jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter; or

    (2) are in, or reasonably related to, a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in

    this or another jurisdiction, if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law

    or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized; or

    (3) are in, or reasonably related to, a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other

    alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out

    of, or are reasonably related to, the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is

    admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or

    (4) are not within subsections (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of, or are reasonably related

    to, the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.

    (d) A lawyer admitted to practice in another United States jurisdiction or in a foreign

    jurisdiction, who is not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction for disciplinary

    reasons or medical incapacity, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:

    (1) are provided to the lawyer's employer or its organizational affiliates after compliance

    with SCR 10.03 (4) (f), and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission;

    or

    (2) are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this

    jurisdiction.

    (e) A lawyer admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States or a foreign

    jurisdiction who provides legal services in this jurisdiction pursuant to sub. (c) and (d) above

    shall consent to the appointment of the Clerk of the Wisconsin Supreme Court as agent upon

    whom service of process may be made for all actions against the lawyer or the lawyer's firm that

    may arise out of the lawyer's participation in legal matters in this jurisdiction.

    Confidentiality and Data Storage

    SCR 20:1.6 Confidentiality

    (a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless

    the client gives informed consent, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized in order to

    carry out the representation, and except as stated in pars. (b) and (c).

    (b) A lawyer shall reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the

    extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent the client from committing a criminal

    or fraudulent act that the lawyer reasonably believes is likely to result in death or substantial

    bodily harm or in substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another.

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    (c) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent

    the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:

    (1) to prevent reasonably likely death or substantial bodily harm;

    (2) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of

    another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client's commission of a crime

    or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer's services;

    (3) to secure legal advice about the lawyer's conduct under these rules;

    (4) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the

    lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer

    based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any

    proceeding concerning the lawyer's representation of the client; or

    (5) to comply with other law or a court order.

    WISCONSIN COMMITTEE COMMENT

    The rule retains in paragraph (b) the mandatory disclosure requirements that have been a part of

    the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules since their initial adoption. Paragraph (c) differs from its

    counterpart, Model Rule 1.6(b), as necessary to take account of the mandatory disclosure

    requirements in Wisconsin. The language in paragraph (c)(1) was changed from "reasonably

    certain" to "reasonably likely" to comport with sub. (b). Due to substantive and numbering

    differences, special care should be taken in consulting the ABA Comment.

    ABA COMMENTS

    [1] This Rule governs the disclosure by a lawyer of information relating to the representation of

    a client during the lawyer's representation of the client. See Rule 1.18 for the lawyer's duties with

    respect to information provided to the lawyer by a prospective client, Rule 1.9(c)(2) for the

    lawyer's duty not to reveal information relating to the lawyer's prior representation of a former

    client and Rules 1.8(b) and 1.9(c)(1) for the lawyer's duties with respect to the use of such

    information to the disadvantage of clients and former clients.

    [2] A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client's

    informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation. See Rule

    1.0(e) for the definition of informed consent. This contributes to the trust that is the hallmark of

    the client-lawyer relationship. The client is thereby encouraged to seek legal assistance and to

    communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or legally damaging

    subject matter. The lawyer needs this information to represent the client effectively and, if

    necessary, to advise the client to refrain from wrongful conduct. Almost without exception,

    clients come to lawyers in order to determine their rights and what is, in the complex of laws and

    regulations, deemed to be legal and correct. Based upon experience, lawyers know that almost all

    clients follow the advice given, and the law is upheld.

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    [3] The principle of client-lawyer confidentiality is given effect by related bodies of law: the

    attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine and the rule of confidentiality established in

    professional ethics. The attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine apply in judicial and

    other proceedings in which a lawyer may be called as a witness or otherwise required to produce

    evidence concerning a client. The rule of client-lawyer confidentiality applies in situations other

    than those where evidence is sought from the lawyer through compulsion of law. The

    confidentiality rule, for example, applies not only to matters communicated in confidence by the

    client but also to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source. A lawyer may

    not disclose such information except as authorized or required by the Rules of Professional

    Conduct or other law. See also Scope.

    [4] Paragraph (a) prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating to the representation of a

    client. This prohibition also applies to disclosures by a lawyer that do not in themselves reveal

    protected information but could reasonably lead to the discovery of such information by a third

    person. A lawyer's use of a hypothetical to discuss issues relating to the representation is

    permissible so long as there is no reasonable likelihood that the listener will be able to ascertain

    the identity of the client or the situation involved.

    Authorized Disclosure

    [5] Except to the extent that the client's instructions or special circumstances limit that authority,

    a lawyer is impliedly authorized to make disclosures about a client when appropriate in carrying

    out the representation. In some situations, for example, a lawyer may be impliedly authorized to

    admit a fact that cannot properly be disputed or to make a disclosure that facilitates a satisfactory

    conclusion to a matter. Lawyers in a firm may, in the course of the firm's practice, disclose to

    each other information relating to a client of the firm, unless the client has instructed that

    particular information be confined to specified lawyers.

    Disclosure Adverse to Client

    [6] Although the public interest is usually best served by a strict rule requiring lawyers to

    preserve the confidentiality of information relating to the representation of their clients, the

    confidentiality rule is subject to limited exceptions. Paragraph (b)(1) recognizes the overriding

    value of life and physical integrity and permits disclosure reasonably necessary to prevent

    reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm. Such harm is reasonably certain to occur if it

    will be suffered imminently or if there is a present and substantial threat that a person will suffer

    such harm at a later date if the lawyer fails to take action necessary to eliminate the threat. Thus,

    a lawyer who knows that a client has accidentally discharged toxic waste into a town's water

    supply may reveal this information to the authorities if there is a present and substantial risk that

    a person who drinks the water will contract a life-threatening or debilitating disease and the

    lawyer's disclosure is necessary to eliminate the threat or reduce the number of victims.

    [7] Paragraph (b)(2) is a limited exception to the rule of confidentiality that permits the lawyer to

    reveal information to the extent necessary to enable affected persons or appropriate authorities to

    prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud, as defined in Rule 1.0(d), that is reasonably

    certain to result in substantial injury to the financial or property interests of another and in

    furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer's services. Such a serious abuse of

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    the client-lawyer relationship by the client forfeits the protection of this Rule. The client can, of

    course, prevent such disclosure by refraining from the wrongful conduct. Although paragraph

    (b)(2) does not require the lawyer to reveal the client's misconduct, the lawyer may not counsel

    or assist the client in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. See Rule 1.2(d). See

    also Rule 1.16 with respect to the lawyer's obligation or right to withdraw from the

    representation of the client in such circumstances, and Rule 1.13(c), which permits the lawyer,

    where the client is an organization, to reveal information relating to the representation in limited

    circumstances.

    [8] Paragraph (b)(3) addresses the situation in which the lawyer does not learn of the client's

    crime or fraud until after it has been consummated. Although the client no longer has the option

    of preventing disclosure by refraining from the wrongful conduct, there will be situations in

    which the loss suffered by the affected person can be prevented, rectified or mitigated. In such

    situations, the lawyer may disclose information relating to the representation to the extent

    necessary to enable the affected persons to prevent or mitigate reasonably certain losses or to

    attempt to recoup their losses. Paragraph (b)(3) does not apply when a person who has

    committed a crime or fraud thereafter employs a lawyer for representation concerning that

    offense.

    [9] A lawyer's confidentiality obligations do not preclude a lawyer from securing confidential

    legal advice about the lawyer's personal responsibility to comply with these Rules. In most

    situations, disclosing information to secure such advice will be impliedly authorized for the

    lawyer to carry out the representation. Even when the disclosure is not impliedly authorized,

    paragraph (b)(4) permits such disclosure because of the importance of a lawyer's compliance

    with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

    [10] Where a legal claim or disciplinary charge alleges complicity of the lawyer in a client's

    conduct or other misconduct of the lawyer involving representation of the client, the lawyer may

    respond to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to establish a defense. The same

    is true with respect to a claim involving the conduct or representation of a former client. Such a

    charge can arise in a civil, criminal, disciplinary or other proceeding and can be based on a

    wrong allegedly committed by the lawyer against the client or on a wrong alleged by a third

    person, for example, a person claiming to have been defrauded by the lawyer and client acting

    together. The lawyer's right to respond arises when an assertion of such complicity has been

    made. Paragraph (b)(5) does not require the lawyer to await the commencement of an action or

    proceeding that charges such complicity, so that the defense may be established by responding

    directly to a third party who has made such an assertion. The right to defend also applies, of

    course, where a proceeding has been commenced.

    [11] A lawyer entitled to a fee is permitted by paragraph (b)(5) to prove the services rendered in

    an action to collect it. This aspect of the Rule expresses the principle that the beneficiary of a

    fiduciary relationship may not exploit it to the detriment of the fiduciary.

    [12] Other law may require that a lawyer disclose information about a client. Whether such a law

    supersedes Rule 1.6 is a question of law beyond the scope of these Rules. When disclosure of

    information relating to the representation appears to be required by other law, the lawyer must

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    discuss the matter with the client to the extent required by Rule 1.4. If, however, the other law

    supersedes this Rule and requires disclosure, paragraph (b)(6) permits the lawyer to make such

    disclosures as are necessary to comply with the law.

    [13] A lawyer may be ordered to reveal information relating to the representation of a client by a

    court or by another tribunal or governmental entity claiming authority pursuant to other law to

    compel the disclosure. Absent informed consent of the client to do otherwise, the lawyer should

    assert on behalf of the client all nonfrivolous claims that the order is not authorized by other law

    or that the information sought is protected against disclosure by the attorney-client privilege or

    other applicable law. In the event of an adverse ruling, the lawyer must consult with the client

    about the possibility of appeal to the extent required by Rule 1.4. Unless review is sought,

    however, paragraph (b)(6) permits the lawyer to comply with the court's order.

    [14] Paragraph (b) permits disclosure only to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes the

    disclosure is necessary to accomplish one of the purposes specified. Where practicable, the

    lawyer should first seek to persuade the client to take suitable action to obviate the need for

    disclosure. In any case, a disclosure adverse to the client's interest should be no greater than the

    lawyer reasonably believes necessary to accomplish the purpose. If the disclosure will be made

    in connection with a judicial proceeding, the disclosure should be made in a manner that limits

    access to the information to the tribunal or other persons having a need to know it and

    appropriate protective orders or other arrangements should be sought by the lawyer to the fullest

    extent practicable.

    [15] Paragraph (b) permits but does not require the disclosure of information relating to a client's

    representation to accomplish the purposes specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(6). In

    exercising the discretion conferred by this Rule, the lawyer may consider such factors as the

    nature of the lawyer's relationship with the client and with those who might be injured by the

    client, the lawyer's own involvement in the transaction and factors that may extenuate the

    conduct in question. A lawyer's decision not to disclose as permitted by paragraph (b) does not

    violate this Rule. Disclosure may be required, however, by other Rules. Some Rules require

    disclosure only if such disclosure would be permitted by paragraph (b). See Rules 1.2(d), 4.1(b),

    8.1, and 8.3. Rule 3.3, on the other hand, requires disclosure in some circumstances regardless of

    whether such disclosure is permitted by this Rule. See Rule 3.3(c).

    Acting Competently to Preserve Confidentiality

    [16] A lawyer must act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a

    client against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are

    participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer's supervision. See

    Rules 1.1, 5.1, and 5.3.

    [17] When transmitting a communication that includes information relating to the representation

    of a client, the lawyer must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming

    into the hands of unintended recipients. This duty, however, does not require that the lawyer use

    special security measures if the method of communication affords a reasonable expectation of

    privacy. Special circumstances, however, may warrant special precautions. Factors to be

    considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer's expectation of confidentiality

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    include the sensitivity of the information and the extent to which the privacy of the

    communication is protected by law or by a confidentiality agreement. A client may require the

    lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed

    consent to the use of a means of communication that would otherwise be prohibited by this Rule.

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    APPENDIX B: Forms

    1. Sample limited scope representation agreement

    2. Flowchart for virtual representation

    3. A La Cart Service Add On Schedule Example

    4. Practice Management for Virtual Law Offices Comparison Chart

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    AGREEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES BETWEEN YOU AND THE VIRTUAL

    ATTORNEY

    This agreement to advise you (“Client”) begins at the time you accept this completed Agreement

    for Limited Advice and Legal Services provided by _________________ (“The Firm”) and will

    end after I have provided you the tasks or services that we have agreed upon.

    Understand that you are making no commitment to use my services at any time in the future and

    I have not agreed to represent you in any manner other than that which described within this

    Engagement Letter. Once those services are completed, I will have no further obligation to you

    unless we mutually agree to expand the scope of our relationship.

    This means that unless I expressly agree to undertake services after the services I am presently

    agreeing to provide to you that you do not expect me to do anything else, and I do not expect you

    to pay me anything else.

    We have agreed that my services will consist of estate planning representation. The initial

    representation will consist of counsel and drafting of estate planning documents as outlined in

    this Engagement Letter:

    (WILL PACKAGE FOR MARRIED COUPLE), including a will, durable powers of attorney for

    healthcare and finances and incorporated living wills for each spouse, estate plan organizers and

    separate writing agreements (the Base Plan). A revocable living trust may also be included in

    your plan given our discussions regarding your assets and plans for the future. However, we will

    discuss this in additional detail and determine if it would be to your benefit to make that addition.

    Items with additional costs include, but are not limited to transfers of property to the Trust,

    review and modification of retirement plans, filing of deeds, document execution or execution

    supervision, etc. Costs are as follows:

    Base Plan. Will Package (for married couple)[includes powers of attorney for finances, powers

    of attorney for healthcare, living wills, and wills for both spouses, estate organizers, and separate

    writing agreements (used to make small gifts of tangible

    property))…………………………………… $flat rate

    If we choose to also include a trust, a document execution ceremony or any additional items

    (property transfer to your trust, for example) potential costs are below.

    Addition. Revocable Living Trust (includes trust agreement, certificate of trust and transfer of

    all tangible personal property and effects) ……………………… $flat rate

    The will package does not include supervised execution of the documents, however I can assist

    you in execution of the documents to ensure that they follow all legal formalities and

    requirements. This requires two disinterested witnesses (no family members or individuals who

    have any interest in your estate) and a notary public (If you choose to have me assist, I will act as

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    notary). I typically conduct the execution ceremony at your home, place of employment or

    another location which is familiar and comfortable to you and one where you are able to secure

    two individuals to act as witnesses. In the event you do not elect to have me conduct the

    execution ceremony, then I will provide you detailed instructions on the necessary steps for

    execution for no additional cost. However, please be aware that I cannot be responsible for any

    insufficient execution should you choose to go it alone.

    Addition. Document execution (including supervision and notarization) … $flat rate

    Other Additions. Deed drafting and filing, transfers of property to trust, review and correlation

    of retirement account and financial account beneficiaries, additional trust drafting, will

    modifications, additional consults, advice, etc. will be billed at a rate of __________________

    calculated in 6 minute increments. We will discuss any potential additions should they arise, and

    you agree that we will sign a separate engagement letter addendum for any additions before

    beginning work.

    I bill only after services have been provided. In the event that additional services are necessary

    we agree to enter into a separate engagement letter to cover any additions. (*modify as

    appropriate depending on firm billing structure.)

    I do not take retainer payments and you will be invoiced monthly only after fees are earned for

    services performed in the previous month. Invoices are sent on the 25th day of each month. That

    fee, upon payment, becomes the property of the law firm. It will be deposited in The Firm’s

    business account, rather than The Firm’s trust account, and you agree that The Firm may do so.

    Payments are accepted by check or credit card, with a small service charge (3.5% plus $0.30 per

    transaction) applying to credit card transactions. Please also note that accounts more than 90

    days past due may be subject to late fees.

    You understand that you will remain responsible for any legal fees including filing fees, (i.e.

    deed filings), document fees (i.e. required riders from insurance companies), any additional cost

    for any necessary modification of coverage (i.e. title insurance additional insured rider if

    required) and/or court costs, and such fees are not included in the Firm’s fees and will be charged

    to you separately.

    You understand that you have the right to discharge The Firm for any reason at any time. You

    understand that The Firm may withdraw from representing you if you fail to make timely

    payment or do not provide other forms of security satisfactory to The Firm for payment of its

    fees; if you misrepresent or fail to disclose material facts; or if you fail to follow The Firm’s

    advice. You agree that if the Firm decides to withdraw, you will execute the necessary

    documents to permit them to do so. You agree that if you discharge The Firm, or if The Firm

    withdraws from representing you for any reason, including the non-payment of fees and costs as

    they are due under a fee agreement, you will remain liable for all fees, costs and expenses

    actually incurred under such agreement and will make payment in full.

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    By affirmatively accepting this Agreement, an attorney/client relationship is created. This means

    that all communications with you will remain confidential and I may decline to give you advice

    if I have a conflict of interest.

    By accepting and returning this Agreement, you certify that you have read, understand, and agree

    to be bound by the above, and authorize me to prepare your legal documents, or provide you

    with legal advice, based upon these terms and conditions.

    You understand that there is no obligation or fee charged for registering as a client on The Firm’s

    web site and becoming an on-line client of The Virtual Attorney.

    By signing below, you certify that you have received a copy of this contract. The above

    employment is hereby accepted on the terms stated.

    Dated:

    ____________________________

    CLIENT

    ____________________________

    ATTORNEY

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    Standard representation workflow for new Virtual client

    Client Virtual Law Office

    Initial Client communication Schedule consult; assign

    attorney

    Set up client portal with client

    email

    Complete intake form Initial client consult via video

    chat, if possible

    Email client with info and

    attachments (i.e. instructions

    on using client portal, etc.)

    Engagement letter via

    Docusign or another e-Sign

    program

    Upload initial documents to

    client portal

    Follow ups with client, as

    appropriate via automated

    email, video chat, etc.

    Client returns intake and

    engagement letter

    Draft initial documents, send

    to client through client portal

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    Client reviews initial

    documents

    Automated Follow up

    Client provides feedback on

    initial documents

    Make any necessary changes

    to documents, send to client

    Client reviews updated

    documents

    Automated Follow up

    Client signs off on documents

    Send final documents package,

    disengagement letter

    Notify Accounting. Accounting

    sends final invoices.

    Close file

    Client executes documents;

    keeps for records

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    A La Cart Service Add On Schedule Example

    Add On Service Pricing Suggestion

    Registered Agent Price

    State Trademark Application and Filing (Excluding Fees) Price

    Federal Trademark or Copyright Filing (Excluding Fees or defense) Price

    Contract Drafting Price

    Contract Review Price

    Review of Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer Documents Price

    Amendment of Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer Documents Price

    Deed drafting (per property) Price

    Deed Filing (Excluding Fees) Price

    Loan Agreement or Mortgage and Promissory Note Drafting Price

    Mortgage Filing Price

    HIPAA Authorization Price

    Will Package Execution Supervision (client brings witnesses) Price

    In-Person Consultation (30 minutes) Price

    In-Person Consultation (1 hour) Price

    Existing Estate Plan Review Price

    State and Federal Licensing Compliance (excludes filling fees) Price

    Stock or Membership Interest Sale/Repurchase Agreement Price

    Crummey Trust Price

    Crummey Notice Price

    Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Price

    Illinois Land Trust (excludes Deed prep and filing) Price

    Travel Time for distances >35 miles Price

    DBA Registration (includes media notice but not fees) Price

    Employment Contract (template can be reused) Price

    Independent Contractor Contract Price

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    Meeting Minutes Price

    Resolution Price

    Nondisclosure Agreement Price

    Consulting Agreement Price

    Employee Handbook Price

    Demand for Money Owed Price

    Licensing Agreement Price

    Cease and Desist Letter (drafting only) Price

    Website Terms and Conditions Price

    Marital Property Agreement (pre or post) includes agreement; affidavit

    of facts; affidavit of assets and liabilities; financial disclosure; spousal

    waiver

    Price

    Amend Operating Agreement to add 2nd class of membership interest Price

    Amend Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation and file

    amended articles (does not include filing fees)

    Price

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    Practice Management Solutions for Virtual Law Offices

    MyCase Total Attorneys Clio Rocket Matter Direct Law

    Calendar

    and Task

    Management

    Customizable color-coded

    calendar for each firm

    member with optional

    sharing to others or master

    firm calendar; automated

    reminders; sync with

    devices; Workflow

    functionality to pre-populate

    common dates and deadlines

    for each case or matter.

    Two-way synch

    between Total

    Attorneys

    calendar and

    others, including

    ICal and Outlook.

    Color coded

    calendars for

    separate users or

    conference rooms

    with customizable

    access. Automated

    email and pop up

    reminders. Bi-

    directional synch

    with Outlook.

    Color coded

    calendars,

    integration with

    master firm

    calendar. Task

    tracking and

    prioritization.

    Simple calendaring

    with reminder

    feature.

    Document

    Management

    and Storage

    Document library with

    ability to share with clients

    or firm members with one

    click. No file size

    limitations. Document

    collaboration and history

    evidenced through versions

    feature

    ** all document

    capabilities

    removed as of

    February 2014.

    Direct Fujitsu Scan

    Snap Integration for

    quick document

    uploads. Uploads

    can be selectively

    shared with other

    firm members or

    clients. Document

    collaboration and

    history evidenced

    through versions

    feature. Integration

    with Google Docs,

    Dropbox &

    Netdocs.

    Limitless document

    storage. Image and

    sound file upload

    capability.

    Integration with

    Evernote and

    Dropbox.

    Custom upload of

    in-house created

    documents to the

    Direct law Platform.

    Minimal client

    document

    collaboration.

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    MyCase Total Attorneys Clio Rocket Matter Direct Law

    Document

    Assembly

    Upload completed

    documents of use fully

    customizable document

    automation features enabling

    data merge. Cloud Based

    collaboration with clients

    and firm members with

    numerous document

    versions.

    No document

    assembly features.

    Template assembly

    and population with

    general case info.

    Ability to input

    customer fields for

    more

    comprehensive

    assembly.

    Document assembly

    capabilities with

    custom data field

    options. Cloud-

    based template

    storage accessibly

    within the

    management suite.

    Access to Rapidocs

    document library

    with select plans as

    well as Rapidocs

    custom document

    authoring.

    Billing and

    Payments

    Built in invoicing based on

    flat fee, hourly or mixed

    rates, trust account

    integration, optional online

    payment integration

    (additional cost).

    Multiple billing

    options (flat fee,

    hourly, pro bono)

    and invoicing

    capabilities.

    Additional fee for

    online payments

    ($35/month).

    Trust and Operating

    Account integration

    with Xero

    accounting

    software, intuitive

    invoice creation.

    Invoice approval

    functionality

    enabling sign off

    prior to client

    billing. Integration

    with PayPal and

    LawPay.

    Batch billing

    enabling one-click

    invoicing for all

    monthly invoices.

    Trust account

    integration.

    Payment capability

    through integration

    with LawPay.

    Integrated payment

    processing through

    Chase included in

    monthly fees;

    however, the system

    is only set up to take

    payment at the onset

    of representation.

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    MyCase Total Attorneys Clio Rocket Matter Direct Law

    Messaging

    and Email

    Integration

    Direct messaging; annual

    email cataloging capabilities;

    real-time activity stream for

    case status updates. Email

    notifications for case

    activity.

    Portal two way

    messaging with

    automated email

    notification.

    Email forwarding to

    Clio; linking to

    clients and matters;

    documents

    automatically sent

    to Documents tab,

    but a 25mb limit

    applies. Secure in-

    Clio messaging

    capability.

    Skype integration

    with contacts for 1

    click calling.

    Contact export

    feature enabling the

    firm to mail merge

    for letters and

    envelopes. No in-

    system client

    messaging feature.

    IMAP-based email

    integration.

    Time stamped two-

    way messaging

    through client

    portal.

    Client Portal

    Client access through unique

    username and password.

    Document upload and review

    capabilities, messaging,

    invoice viewing (with

    optional bill pay).

    Unique login for

    client access.

    Clients can make

    their own accounts

    without being

    invited by the

    attorney.

    Messaging and

    invoice viewing.

    Comprehensive

    client portal

    enabling clients to

    view task and

    calendar items,

    review and

    collaborate on

    documents, view

    (and pay) invoices

    and send in-Clio

    messages.

    Document share,

    calendar, invoice

    share and payment

    capabilities via

    LawPay integration.

    Client portal with

    client signup

    capabilities.

    Document “store”

    where clients can

    add documents to

    their cart and make

    payments prior to

    work being done

    (like an e-commerce

    site).

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    Cost

    $39/ month for attorneys

    $29/ month for support staff

    $20/month 1-2

    users

    $40/month 3-10

    users

    $65/user/month

    billed annually

    Or

    $72/user/month

    billed monthly

    $55.25/month

    annually. Additional

    options for

    shorter/longer

    contracts.

    $49/month plus

    $50/month for each

    additional attorney.

    Access to integrated

    Rapidocs automated

    document library is

    an additional

    $50/month per

    attorney +

    additional document

    fees.