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Virtual Assistants Increase Productivity of Small Law Firms

Tara Arick, President and Virtual Assistant

By Tara Arick, Polaris Administrative Concepts,727.278.2808, ">,

As small business owners, there are many things we must do to keep our firms running smoothly and keep them growing productively. Often those sometimes mundane tasks fall on our desks and keep us up at night until they get done. We prioritize more immediate concerns and place those still necessary tasks on the back burner. Then when push comes to shove we pull an all-nighter to get those reports to the accountant before the already extended deadline passes.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

From my experience as a small business owner, as well as a virtual assistant, I believe there are two reasons. Either we don’t want to spend the money to hire an assistant or we don’t want to give up control of any aspect of our business.

As a virtual assistant, I cannot help someone with the second reason, but I can most certainly help someone understand the value (monetary and otherwise) of hiring a personal virtual assistant.

In case the term virtual assistant is new to you, in brief, a virtual assistant is a professional personal assistant who works remotely from her own office to save the business owner the cost of office space, technology needs, medical benefits, etc. that generally come with hiring an employee. A virtual assistant is a contract worker who files her own taxes, as well.

You may be wondering what sort of tasks you could delegate to a virtual assistant? Here in a non-exhaustive list:

  • database management
  • appointment setting
  • travel arrangements
  • online shopping
  • social media management
  • document creation (Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
  • proofreading/editing
  • blog writing/maintenance
  • bookkeeping

I would recommend that a business owner to think of the top 5 most important tasks that only he or she can accomplish. What percentage of your work time do you need to carry out these tasks effectively? Now, think of all the other tasks that need to be done that someone else could do for you. What percentage of your time are they taking up? If you add the two figures together and they equal more that 100 %, then you need to hire a virtual assistant.

In most cases, the business owner’s time is more valuable than the cost of a virtual assistant. If you are worried about the cost, then consider what other case or client you can do work for (now that you have assigned some mundane tasks to your virtual assistant) that would more than cover the cost of a virtual assistant.

I have been the virtual assistant to attorneys, law marketers, doctors, bank executives, and professional photographers. They have all needed use of different skills. That is the beauty of virtual assistance. You get help for what you specifically need and for the specific time frame you need it. You only pay for the work completed. For example, with a regular employee, you may need to give them 20 or 40 hours of work weekly, but with a virtual assistant, you may decide you only need 6 hours one week, 2 the next week and none the following week. This maximizes the cost to you.

As mentioned, I have worked with a variety of professionals. One of which is an attorney working in the law marketing field. I kept his calendar and arranged his travel. His days were full of meetings with attorneys to help them with their law marketing skills. He certainly could have set up and reconfirmed all those appointments himself, but that was one thing he could have me take off his plate so he could carry out tasks only he could do, such as holding those meetings, recording notes from those meetings and meeting with potential clients.

Another client had me manage her social media. She would post personally once in a while, but for the most part, I was the voice behind her Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Again, she could have taken time to schedule social media posts herself, but the cost of having me do it was made up in one session with her client!

If you have heard of virtual assistants before, you may have seen an advertisement for a virtual assistant who will work for $3 and hour. That sounds financially lucrative, but I would advise against using those services. Obviously, that is my competition, but there are several reasons for business owners to consider before going straight to the bottom line.

  1. Those are usually people living overseas who are usually a challenge to get a hold of. Not only are time zones different, but language is often a barrier as well.
  2. Keeping jobs in America is always a good idea.
  3. Quality of work may be a problem. I had one client who used an inexpensive, foreign virtual assistant and they were unhappy with the quality of the work. They then paid me to redo the project. So, in the end they paid more money anyway.

In today’s technologically advanced world, take advantage of the opportunity to move your business to the next level by hiring a virtual assistant who can accomplish the tedious tasks that are holding you back. Truly, hiring a virtual assistant is a smart decision for your finances, calendar and stress level.

Tara Arick is the President and Virtual Assistant of Polaris Administrative Concepts, St Petersburg, FL. She can be reached at 727.278.2808, ">,

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