Some of you may know that back on June 1, 2016, my legal assistant, Suzanne, and I ventured into the world of a virtual business existence with my estate planning and probate practice. We both have home offices and routinely communicate with one another from there via a cloud-based, encrypted system called “MyCase”. Sure we meet face-to-face a couple times a week for Will and Trust signings but mostly it’s ‘on the cloud’. My clients also have the special privilege of having their own “client login” portal (see the tabs on my website: www.jfieldlaw.com). This enables my clients to securely review documents we have prepared on their behalf or simply stay in communication with us in a format similar to text messaging. Such is technology today!
So, where do I meet with clients, you ask? Well, I lease space from attorneys on an ‘as-needed’ basis or I secure meeting locations from trusted and competent financial advisors that I have come to know. So far I am utilizing the following meeting locations, with the most use in the following descending order: Anoka, Roseville, Cambridge and Maple Grove. But these meeting locations probably account for about two-thirds of my appointments. I also meet with clients at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and even their residences. Due to the variation of locations I have also become more flexible with my meeting times, meeting with prospective clients on evenings or weekends, if that is more suitable to their schedule.
The volume of business has been quite steady since going virtual climbing slowly but surely over these months with a colossal jump in March. I cherish the new business and I cherish the ‘slow’ times when I can get a lot of work done. I still offer my clients a three week turnaround time on Wills and a five week turnaround time on Trusts but adjust that schedule in either direction as needed.
For example, I recently received a call on a Wednesday by a patient with a terminal illness at Mercy Hospital who needed a Will done. I showed up the next day at Mercy, took down the information I needed, and was back there two days later to have his Will and estate plan signed. In that case it was good thing I acted quickly because this person died two days later! I am genuinely so sorry for his family for their loss but I am grateful that I could help relieve some stress by getting this done in short order and by coming to them when travel by the client was not an option.
I will admit it seemed a bit strange giving up that fancy five office suite in the heart of downtown Anoka looking out over the beautiful Rum River. In some ways I still miss that. But I have to say I absolutely love the freedom provided by the significantly reduced overhead, by working in jeans at my home office and by my flex schedule. Plus, I lowered my rates for my clients when I made this move. If this is the virtual world then I guess you could say: ‘I’m all in!’