Virtual Office Services
For instance, we know how critical it is that you know when pleadings arrive in your mailbox. We will let you know when you receive mail and who that mail is from so that you do not miss an important deadline because you did not know you had received a filing in one of your cases. We also know that your clients are here for sensitive legal matters and as such we treat them with a care and kindliness due to legal clients.
We are so committed to serving you that we offer an unconditional guarantee that you and your clients will be satisfied with the care and service provided by us or we will refund you 110% of the purchase price for those services. We know what attorneys need to succeed because we are attorneys, and we are invested in your success.
Meet Charlie Olsen
This is Charlie. Actually, it’s Charles T. Olsen, but that’s just the name on his business card. His friends call him Charlie, and shortly after they meet, so do his clients.
Charlie is 37, has a wife (Emily), two boys (Jake, 10 and Rudy, 13). He’s been practicing law for twelve years, but has been solo for the last six. He has a varied practice, mostly doing family law and criminal defense, although he isn’t opposed to taking on other types of cases when they occasionally come his way.
Charlie works from home to keep the overhead down, and to help with the boys since Emily doesn’t get home from work until 6:00 most days. Charlie both loves and hates working from home. He loves it that he has a flexible work schedule, but hates it that family emergencies always fall on his (already full) plate because, “you’re home anyway”.
All in all, Charlie does pretty well and likes his life. He used to wonder, though, if this is the best it could be. Charlie wished he had more time – more time for himself, more time with his family, more time to give his work better attention. Charlie often had to deal with unexpected situations during the day, sometimes work related and sometimes not, so he was usually still working when his wife came home. He sometimes was still working when dinner was hot and waiting at the table. Emily complained that Charlie worked too late too often and gave him a hard time about it. Charlie didn’t think she understood just how much there was to do and just how many things took up his time during the day. He felt guilty working late and taking time away from his family; and when he didn’t work, he felt like he was falling behind.
Charlie loves mixing with his fellow lawyers when he gets the chance – at court, at bar meetings, and at occasional get-togethers with his friends. He never really felt like he got enough of that, though. He belongs to an online community of lawyers with a listserv, but somehow that isn’t the same as having people to hang out with, bounce ideas about his cases off of, and even just shoot the breeze. Being at home, Charlie sometimes felt like he was practicing law in a black hole.
When Charlie went solo six years ago, he imagined how much freedom he would have being his own boss. He does like being able to choose which cases he takes and which ones he passes on, and after working for a firm, he really appreciates not being told how to handle his cases or his clients. On the other hand, he didn’t expect that he would be a slave to his cell phone. He answered his own phone and he knew that if a potential client didn’t get a live body on the line when they called, then they are on to the next lawyer and he lost out. Sometimes when the phone rang, he would have loved to have the freedom not to answer it, like when he was doing things with the boys, but he felt like he didn’t dare risk it. After all, that was his family’s financial lifeblood.
Working from home, Charlie sometimes struggled to find a good place to meet clients. He definitely didn’t want to have his criminal defense clients coming to his home, and he felt that way about most of his family law clients, as well. He met his clients in the county jail when they were in lock up and at the courthouse before hearings, but in-between times he went through great efforts to make it seem normal to his clients that he met them in public places. Some clients didn’t seem to mind, but others seemed rather put off by it. Charlie thought to himself that it must be impacting his clients’ impression of him, but he didn’t really know what to do about it.
Charlie loves getting a criminal defense client – they pay a flat fee up front and that’s good for an immediate cash infusion. Also, there’s generally a lot less paperwork involved in those cases. If only more of those cases came in the door. Family law cases, especially those with custody battles, are good for Charlie for long-term, steady work, but the motions and responses take a lot of time to draft and he’s almost always down to the wire in getting discovery responses ready. Charlie would have loved to have help during those crunch times, but he doesn’t need even a part-time person – he just needs occasional help, a few hours a month. He thought it would be too expensive to get that kind of help and that, besides, only the bottom-of-the-barrel paralegals would be willing to work so little here and there, only on rush projects, so he didn’t even try to find anyone and just soldiered on.
Charlie liked his work, but being a lawyer wasn’t exactly how he thought it would be. It’s those little hassles that ate away at his satisfaction with his practice. He wanted to make it even better, but he just didn’t know how.
What we offered to Charlie
We offered Charlie:
- A community of lawyers to belong to, in a great culture
- A tremendous knowledge base from colleagues in diverse areas of law
- A source for referral business
- A professional place to meet clients which lends credibility to him
- Peace of mind that his calls are always answered, and his door is always open to clients
- Quality support staff when he needs it
- Resources that would be out of his budget on his own
When Charlie became a virtual services member of MoreLaw Minneapolis, he was no longer chained to his cell phone. He had no idea how much time would be freed up by having someone else answer his phone. He could have blocks of time to focus on drafting the motions needed in his family law cases, and he could confidently turn off his cell phone when he was at one of Jake’s soccer games.
Charlie found that he retained clients more often when he had the initial meeting with them at MoreLaw Minneapolis, and he got much less push back on the amount of retainer he asked for as well as his hourly billing rate. The professional impression the facility made on his clients helped to make them feel like Charlie was the right person for the case.
Even though Charlie’s practice is busier than ever, he feels less stressed about it because he has help when he needs it. From time to time, he has the paralegal organize discovery responses or do the first draft of a motion. When he’s used the paralegal, he’s been able to bill that time to the client at almost double what he paid, so he’s been able to recoup the cost and more.
He also found that he enjoys working from home more because he can break up the monotony with occasional trips into the office. Even though Charlie is a virtual tenant, he really feels like the MoreLaw Minneapolis space is his office, and the people there are his colleagues. He has made connections with attorneys who do bankruptcy and others who exclusively do criminal defense, and they have started sending him the family law cases that spring forth from their practices but that they don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. He’s connected with other family law colleagues and has found that the ones that are already crazy busy are glad to send referrals to him, and he has found that he is glad to send potential clients that cannot afford his hourly rates to the newer attorney who does a great job but charges a bit less.
More importantly, though, Charlie feels like he belongs. When he comes in the office, there is always someone he has a friendly conversation with. From time to time, he’ll even go around the corner to the Crooked Pint for a happy hour beer with someone from the community. Charlie has found that his practice and life are more satisfying to him now that he has the extra support that MoreLaw Minneapolis provides.
Who goes virtual?
- Attorneys starting a new practice
- Law firms in other locations wanting a downtown satellite office
- Attorneys working from home
- Attorneys who want to be semi-retired
- Attorneys who want the income from their practice to go into their pockets instead of funding overhead
The major benefits of a virtual office:
Having virtual office services is much more economical than having a traditional brick and mortar office.
For instance, in downtown Minneapolis a solo practitioner or firm with a few attorneys can expect to have a brick and mortar office with 1,000 square feet for around $2,000 a month for rent and utilities (not including the initial setup costs which would be at the very least $3,500).
On the other hand, a solo practitioner working from home or a firm with a few attorneys primarily officing out of their homes can have a virtual office for $375 a month without any setup costs. That is a significant savings that means more money in the lawyers’ pockets. Would you like more money in your pocket?
Virtual office services include phone answering and reception services.
To hire a person to handle these tasks on your own would cost around $3,000 per month. Some attorneys choose not to have someone answer their phones or greet their clients, but that risks missed calls, an unprofessional impression, and possibly poor customer service. For the cost of having virtual office services, you can ensure that your calls are being handled when you are unavailable and that your clients are getting the best possible impression of you.
Many solo practicioners and small firms find it cost prohibitive to outfit a well-furnished office.
A virtual office allows you to have a swanky place to work and meet clients without having to break the bank. Come by and we will happy to give you the full tour.
Meeting clients in coffee shops and other public places is problematic.
For one thing, it is difficult to have a confidential conversation in that environment; plus, your client may not want to share emotionally sensitive information with you under those circumstances. While some clients may not be put off by such a meeting, your credibility would be diminished in the eyes of most clients. Diminished credibility will not help your practice grow.
Many attorneys working alone experience a feeling of isolation.
Having a community of attorneys in a shared office space cuts down on the feeling of isolation and provides the social and professional benefits usually found in a larger firm. These include having others to bounce ideas off of and consult on difficult cases, having a network to refer cases to and to get referrals from, and a group of colleagues to enjoy water cooler conversation with. While the economics of going virtual are compelling, it is most often the social aspects that are of most value.
A virtual office gives you an instant network of attorneys with diverse practice areas.
This is useful as you may need to consult with someone in an area of law outside of your bailiwick. Attorneys in large firms can go down the hall and visit with a colleague in a different department. You don’t have that luxury when you are working on your own, unless you are in a community of attorneys like that in MoreLaw Minneapolis.
Some attorneys choose to work part-time or nontraditional hours in order to manage some other aspect of their lives.
This may be for childcare reasons, or caring for an ailing family member, or to have a second career unrelated to law. Law firms tend to frown upon these working arrangements. For these people a virtual office is the perfect solution. They have the law office facility available to them when they need it without the enormous overhead of having their own space.
There are numerous reasons why an attorney would want to setup a new law practice.
They may be new out of law school, or they may be transitioning from another firm, or they may be leaving the public sector. For an attorney setting up a new practice, a virtual office allows them to start business without a large outlay of capital and makes it possible for them to start from scratch and still be profitable.
With a virtual office, you only pay for the services you need when you need them.
That may be help from support staff like paralegals, or billing and bookkeeping services, or even basic office services. You can tailor your services to fit your needs and your budget as your practice changes.
The technology that MoreLaw Minneapolis offers allows you to be anywhere and be connected with your clients.
This provides a level of flexibility that cannot be found in a traditional office. Even when our attorneys leave the state, many choose to keep their virtual office at MoreLaw. Whether in Miami, Florida or Portland, Oregon, attorneys who choose to have a virtual office rely on us.
- We have a range of mailbox service options on our Mailbox Services page. Check it out if you are interested in having . . .
- Professional address
- Letter/package acceptance
- Scan notification of the contents of your mailbox (excluding bulk mail and magazines)
- Upon request, opening and scanning of specific mail pieces
- In person acceptance of deliveries from clients
- Pick-up during business hours or mail forwarding for an additional fee plus packaging and postage costs.
Mailbox and Phone AnsweringMonthly
- All the items from our Professional Mailbox Services, plus . . .
- Personalized phone answering
- Call forwarding
- Voicemail accessible by phone, email, or the Web
- Same-day phone number setup with a number from us
- Keep your current number (612 numbers may be directly ported, other exchanges must be ported to Google then forwarded to us)
Full Virtual Additional PersonMonthly
- Multi-person firms can take advantage of any of our full virtual office service packages for every member with an additional person charge for each additional member.
- The firm will have one main phone number, and each person will have their own extension with personalized voicemail and call routing settings.
- After hours call phone trees (“press 1 for Sally . . .”) can be programmed for an additional $50.
Full Virtual BasicMonthly
- All of the items from our Mailbox and Phone Answering package, plus . . .
- Copy/print/fax/Internet service in the office
- 6 hours of conference room time
- ½ price on additional conference room time
- 10 hours use of the day office
- Coffee/tea/water service for your meetings
- Your name or firm name on suite signage
- Notary Services
- Secure document disposal
- Use of the 3rd floor facilities
- 24/7 key card access to the office
Full Virtual PlusMonthly
- All the items from our Full Virtual Basic, plus . . .
- An additional 5 hours of day office time
- An additional 3 hours of conference room time
Full Virtual PremiumMonthly
- All the items from our Full Virtual Basic, plus . . .
- An additional 10 hours of day office time
- An additional 6 hours of conference room time
Satisfied Virtual Office Customers
“MoreLaw Minneapolis is my “virtual” office address. The space, which includes a gracious and open reception area and a series of beautiful conference rooms, is there when I need it for client meetings and depositions. The available services, including office automation and high speed internet, are up to date and easy to use – and most are included. The staff is experienced, committed, and kind, and they keep me closely advised of telephone and walk-in contacts, and incoming mail. The location is next door to the Minneapolis federal courthouse and two blocks from the Hennepin County Courthouse. It all works, and I’m a big fan.”
“A common challenge for new solo & small lawyers is finding cost-effective professional space to host meetings, schedule depositions or gather the troops for trial. MoreLaw’s beautiful reception area and conference rooms feature great light, stylish décor and plenty of amenities: no matter who’s coming to visit, MoreLaw helps me rise to the occasion. It’s also an unbeatable skyway-connected location in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. But what really sets MoreLaw apart is its sense of community. The Hanlons always welcome you like you just made their day, and they’ve attracted a group of practitioners that is vibrant, enthusiastic, and diverse. My office may be “virtual,” but I’m part of a community that’s real.“
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the questions we get asked from time to time, but this list isn’t by any means exhaustive. If you have any questions or concerns that aren’t covered here, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Am I going to be locked into a long term contract?
No. Our virtual office services are on a month to month basis, and we simply ask for a 30 day notice before cancelling. That said, if you find that you need to change your service from one level to another, we’ll be glad to accommodate that right away.
What else will I get charged for?
We believe in no surprise pricing and many of our community members don’t ever get a bill that is even a penny over their monthly package charge. For those who choose to take advantage of these conveniences, they will be added to your invoice at the end of the month: postage for unstamped outgoing mail, sodas you charged to your account, printing/copying over your monthly allotment.
I need way more than 500 sheets of b/w and 20 sheets of color printing a month. How much is the extra going to cost me?
Full virtual and physical office members each get 500 b/w and 20 color copies or prints each month, and for some practice areas that is plenty. For attorneys who do litigation or immigration, that’s not going to last a month, and might not even make it through Tuesday. We will be happy to program the printers with a client code for you, so that you can bill voluminous printing back to your client. Black and white prints are $0.05 and color prints are $0.15.
How much does it cost for me to fax or scan?
Faxes and scans are free. Yes, free. Yes, coming and going. Yes, you read that right. Free.
You can scan to your email or to a thumb drive, and if you are a PC person, then we can also set you up with a scan folder on your laptop that will allow you to scan up to 999 consecutive pages in one file.
Can I host a lunch meeting?
Sure! We have matching dishes that you are free to use in all three kitchens, and in the main 3rd floor kitchen we have a stove and oven, in addition to the microwave, if you feel like cooking. We have just enough pots and pans to make an omlete, soup, or grilled cheese, but not Thanksgiving dinner, so plan accordingly if you’re an ameteur chef. If you would like support in coordinating catering for your lunch meeting, we’ll be glad to help with that, too.
I sometimes need a notary. Do you have someone around for that?
We do have office staff who are notaries, and there are a handful of attorneys in our community who are notaries, as well. If you know in advance that you will need a notary, let us know and we’ll make sure to have one available. If you ask us last-minute, most of the time we can deliver, but not always . . . so it’s best to plan ahead and let us know.
Do after hours or weekends count against my conference room time?
Full virtual and physical office members have 24/7 access to the facility with their key cards. If you use the conference rooms or day office after hours or on weekends, it doesn’t count towards your conference room time. We only count the time during the weekday business hours. We do ask, though, that you please pick up after yourself after hours and on weekends since we won’t be there to make the room nice for the next person.
How can I reserve a conference room?
We have an online reservation system that you can access from our home page with the “Make a Reservation” button. You’ll have to create a username and password and log in to make a reservation. You can see which rooms are available on which day, or if you know the specific day/time and want to know what is available then, you can also search that way. If you have a long time period (more than an hour) and don’t want to make several consecutive reservations, let us know and we can block out a whole time period on the calendar for you.
We would be delighted to have a conversation about how we could serve you, and even give you a tour when you’re in the neighborhood.
310 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415