The client-lawyer relationship with a virtual law firm

In a traditional law practice, someone looking to retain a lawyer would go into that lawyer’s office, meet with them and, if happy with that lawyer, retain them to provide services. This model hasn’t changed much for the last few centuries.
The Client-Lawyer Relationship with a Virtual Law Firm

With the advent of the digital age, however, it is now possible to provide many legal services remotely. Limitations remain, principally around verifying identity, but nonetheless more and more lawyers are moving to providing services remotely through ‘virtual law firms’. But what exactly does this mean for you, the client?

For the most part, it doesn’t mean significant changes. It is still important to meet with your lawyer, or prospective lawyer; it is still important to have confidence in him or her; and you still need to retain your lawyer as you may have before.

The difference is primarily in how you connect with your lawyer. Rather than needing to drive to their office, you can meet via video conference. The lawyer still needs to be certified to practice in your jurisdiction. It can be a good idea to verify that before retaining a lawyer from a virtual law office – or even a traditional office. In British Columbia, you can check the Law Society of BC’s Lawyer Directory to confirm that your prospective lawyer is actually a certified BC lawyer.

The lawyer will also need to obtain information about you. At Sage Hill Law, we will ask you to fill out an online intake form and, if we are being retained, confirm the validity of your ID with a service provided by the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA). If there is any sort of financial transaction involved, a lawyer in BC may need to perform additional verification steps to ensure that you are who you say you are.

As you work with a remote lawyer, you will provide instructions via email, phone calls, and videoconferencing. These all have the advantage of saving the need for travel, waiting rooms, and other inconveniences. If you do want to meet face to face, generally video conferencing suffices and allows the personal connection that you may miss from an in person meeting. 

For some people, particularly those in rural communities or with disabilities, remote access to lawyers can be vital. Smaller communities are often under serviced by legal professionals and individuals with disabilities can find travel onerous. Busy professionals can also benefit from virtual legal services because they no longer need to find the time to leave the office during work hours to meet with a lawyer.

At Sage Hill Law, we strive to make legal services more approachable and easier for the average person. Offer virtual services is part of that. Virtual legal services make things easier for clients and help us provide better legal services to you.

Find out more about our estate planning services and book a consultation here.

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Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. Consult with qualified professionals to create a personalized estate plan suitable for your specific circumstances.

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