How Much Can a Virtual Law Office Make?
Three years ago today, I launched my virtual law office, Rachel Rodgers Law Office. It wasn’t all that exciting. There was no “grand opening,” no party, not even a big announcement. Just me, 3 clients (two were really good friends of mine and one was a good friend of my sister) and the decision to finally take that thing that I had been dreamin’ about out of my head and into reality.
I launched my online-based law practice on September 1, 2010 despite reading this article by Lee Rosen on August 18, 2010. In that article, Lee Rosen questioned the viability of virtual law practices. He said,
“… in many practice areas, I don’t think there’s much demand among clients for a virtual practice. A virtual lawyer isn’t what most clients are thinking of as the solution to their problem.”
That was pretty killer to hear from an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer who I respected, knowing in my heart, that I was hoping to launch a virtual law practice in 2 weeks and had big dreams of it being wildly successful.
That article spawned a debate with multiple responses written by multiple law bloggers, some agreeing with Lee that VLOs aren’t likely to succeed. And some disagreeing with his sentiment that there isn’t client demand for legal services provided over the internet. I feel like that debate kinda, sorta never ended. Since then, there have been a myriad of articles written about virtual law offices and whether they have the potential to be successful (including some by Yours Truly).
Despite, the articles written and the debates held among experienced, intelligent solos with lots of wisdom to share, I went ahead and launched my practice on September 1, 2010. And I held onto that belief that it would be wildly successful.
Thank God that I did.
Exactly, three years later, my virtual law practice is wildly successful, in my humble opinion. Especially the “wild” part (we have more clients seeking us out than we can currently handle– which is a good problem to have — but a problem, nevertheless). Everyone’s definition of success is different, here are some stats from my practice so that you can get a sense of what my definition of success looks like:
- We’ve served about 70 clients so far. Most of them being repeat customers bringing new matters to us regularly. And most of whom I’ve still never met in person.
- We charge $1,500 for trademark registrations and incorporations begin at $1,300. Not $400.
- We currently have 9 clients in our annual retainer programs.
- We’ve launched 2 information products. One being Small Business Bodyguard.
- We’re profitable, meaning we bring in more than we spend (including my salary as an expense).
- We’re on track to bring in approximately $220,000 this year (that’s being conservative and excluding my VLO courses and consulting– which, by the way, don’t bring in anywhere near what my practice does).
- Our overhead remains pretty low. Its typically less than $3,000 per month (excluding my salary)
- Most importantly, I am really enjoying working with my clients and running the business. <— The most important measure for success.
I wish I had the stats for how many consultations we’ve done, so you could see how many consultations we had to do to obtain those 70 clients but early on I didn’t keep good track of those numbers.
I share these with you because I wanted to know numbers back when I was starting my virtual law office and they weren’t available. I figure you might find this helpful when deciding whether you want to launch your own. But know that this is a practice I built to work for me and my family and the way I want to practice law. I am building this practice around a specific type of client that I really enjoy working with and a specific method of serving those clients. The way you build your practice will likely be different. Your income goals, your ideal clients, your practice area, your marketing methods will differ from mine and therefore your numbers may be different from mine.
Just know that building a successful virtual law office and making enough to live a comfortable life, pay off your law school loans, take care of your family and splurge on a new car or exotic family vacation every now and then, is possible.
The Best Business Advice I Ever Received
Jay-Z did a twitter chat in promotion of his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, earlier this year. During the chat someone asked him what was the best business advice he ever received. This is what he said,
“Don’t listen to anyone, everybody is scared.”
I could not agree more.
As I recently told the lawyers in the Her Virtual Law Office private Facebook community, after yet another round of articles ragging on virtual law offices went around,
“[Success] is more about the work you’re willing to put in to build the practice you want and less about [web] traffic, the state you’re in and people like Lee who say it can’t be done.”