Individual practitioners and small law firms, however, don't have this range of employees and many individual practitioners have no employees whatsoever. The main reasons for anyone in a business or profession not wanting to have (and actually not having ) any employees whatsoever is (i) increased range and complexity of hardware, software and so that any one employee cannot do enough for the single practitioner to make the employee profitable under a cost/benefit analysis; (ii) employees in small firms t urn over more quickly because of a perception that there is no opportunity for advancement (which may be incorrect in many instances) and certainly little opportunity for socialization with other employees; (iii) excessive government regulation, which imp oses too many financial and reporting requirements on an already overworked persons, which detracts from the main activity of such professional or businessperson and turns him or her into a private bureaucrat, and puts a damper on the sector of the U.S. e conomy which produces the most new jobs; and (iv) the burden of advertising for, interviewing, training, supervising, providing office space and amenities, including sick days, vacation days, personal days, medical care, dental care, retirement plans, nur sery care, maternity care, paternity care, smoking breaks, and scores of other benefits - all of which makes employment more akin to a government entitlement program than any significant benefit to the small-firm or individual-practitioner employer.
The burden of employees on the individual practitioner and small law firm should not be underestimated. The developer of LawMall has tried (without success, it should be noted) to enlist the help of President Clinton to cure this problem for small business and small law firms by urging adoption of the message underlying the rallying cry "The First 3 Are Free!", which would eliminate all rules and regulations as to the first three employees of any employer. To see brief outline of the proposal, click onLetter to President Clinton.
Thus, virtuality from the standpoint of an individual practitioner or small law firm is the elimination of all employees, and the substitution of "purchase-as-you-need" independent contractors skilled in the required areas to do the delegatable work. Law Mall is making an effort to create this network of skilled services throughout the U.S. (Canada, and other English-speaking countries) by offering various categories in each city or nationally in which firms or persons with such skills can advertise their availability. Also, LawMall is creating a new required category of virtual employee for lawyers which is called a legal gopher, who has his/her own office and own expenses, who would be available to do anything on a lawyer's list of things to get done except things which only a lawyer must do or the specific lawyer feels he must do himself/herself, and which the lawyer decides not to use a virtual paralegal, word processing or computer operator, investigator, attorney, computer consultant, appellate printer to do. The legal gopher is further discussed several paragraphs below at Individual Practitioners and Legal Gopher Help
This concept is easily applied in the field of law. As an individual practitioner, I find myself faced with a list of 200 or more things to do, some of which I can do right away with ease and many more things which are of some difficulty, and too often wind up undone, because of their comparative difficulty to me. For example, a litigating lawyer might delay obtaining issuance of letters rogatory or a commission by a state court to take the deposition of an out-of-state witness because of the complexity at both ends of the transaction (having to obtain such an order in the local court on one hand, and having to file such order in the distant court and obtain a subpoena or other order from such distant court). A person who knows how to do this should ma ke himself/herself available to the legal profession for a reasonable fee, which would be profitable for such person and be substantially lower than I would have to receive if I did the job myself, involving more time. For example, and don't hold me to t his, but I would have gladly paid someone $500 for doing this for me, plus whatever filing fees were involved. How much time would an experienced person have to spend in doing this task? I estimate about 3-5 hours, assuming that they personally don't have to travel to court and will have others to do that for them (at a much lower fee, of course, which is another component of the virtual law firm).
It may be interesting to note that the developer of LawMall (attorney Carl E. Person) is one of the founders of the paralegal field by establishing, in 1972, the second paralegal school (named Paralegal Institute) in the United States. The first such school, The Institute for Paralegal Training, Inc., located in Philadelphia, was founded a few years earlier, but served only a limited market of paralegal hopefuls and paralegal users.
To return to top menu, click on Return to Top Menu.