Law Firms

At Virtual Law Firm, Ex-DLA Partner Expects to Work Less, Earn More

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While many of the nation’s traditional large law firms are shedding lawyers, one startup is adding three partners a month.

The Virtual Law Firm had only eight partners when it was formed last year, but it now has 33, the Washington Post reports. Lawyers at the law firm work at home, meeting with clients with the help of the Internet and video conferencing. Lawyers keep 85 percent of their billings.

The Post features one of the Virtual Law Firm’s new partners, Geoff Willard, a Reston, Va., lawyer who was a partner at DLA Piper. His decision to switch jobs “illustrates how the Wal-Mart effect of discounting is playing out in the Washington region’s legal community,” the story says.

Willard told the newspaper he kept 90 percent of his clients from DLA, and he now has the ability to work less and earn more money. He worked 60 to 85 hours a week at DLA, but puts in only 40 to 50 hours a week at the Virtual Law Firm.

He said he was tired of the traditional law practice model that emphasized annual increases in billing rates and more billable hours.

“Everyone realizes the big law firm model is broken,” Willard told the Post. “When you tell people, ‘I’m going to drop my rates 25 percent,’ it’s a pretty easy decision” for them to hire you, he said.

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