Why all barristers should have a virtual assistant
The barrister profession has become increasingly time pressured and admin laden. In such a fast-paced work environment, it can be difficult to wholeheartedly focus on client cases alongside a backlog of admin. There are thousands of barristers in England and Wales who work as self-employed practitioners, with greater independence and flexibility, but often without the support of a team or personal assistant.
In other professions and circumstances, people with such a heavy workload as a barrister unquestionably have administrative support. For example solicitors normally have PAs. It seems ludicrous that the barrister is still largely operating solo. Clerks can help with a limited number of tasks, however are typically busy dealing with many other members of chambers.
Barristers are overloaded with meetings to schedule, documents to draft, and emails to wade through. This is where a Virtual Assistant can lighten your load, as usually many time consuming jobs don’t actually require you to do them. Freeing up precious time, allows you to focus on what only you can do and what makes the most impact.
Here’s how a Virtual Assistant can benefit your practice:
Your assistant can tailor services to support you, taking the weight off your shoulders. This might be inbox and diary management, document drafting, bundling, sending forms out, chasing payments, formatting presentations or communication with clerks and clients. You can pick and choose what your VA assists you with.
No HR Headaches
Virtual assistants supply their own equipment, facilities and office. So you don't need to worry about a desk, computer or internet for them. They work for you on a freelance basis, so there is no long term commitment or worries about employee benefits. They also have their own insurance and work within GDPR.
Virtual assistants often specialise in services. For example at Eden Assistants we have grown a niche serving barristers. The number of barrister clients we work with means we have an understanding of the administrative tasks barristers struggle with and what’s important to them. We have also grown a team around what skills and experience make a great fit for legal professionals. As well as providing in-house training for barrister specific services such as bundling and inbox detoxing. A number of our assistants are now experts in using Adobe, Casedo and Hyperlaw, all softwares and web apps used by barristers.
Our clients include renowned barrister, Rhys Taylor, who specialises in Family Law and Property. He says: “I’ve used a remote PA (@EdenAssistants) for about two years, to help lighten load. Some Bar overworking is...where we spend too much time on stuff which others can do for us, releasing us. Highly commend’. (source Twitter)
By engaging the skills of a professional, reliable and proactive VA, you may even find that an assistant that is better at doing your admin than you are. Be it PDF merging or social media scheduling, there is always someone who will love the jobs you hate.
VAs typically come with years of experience from the corporate or business world, in a variety of sectors, including law, finance or business. Previously working as PAs, Executive Assistants or Administrators. Giving you access to many skills and valuable experience. They are accustomed to understanding your work holistically and how they can take things off your plate allowing you to focus on what really needs your expertise.
Utilising a Virtual Assistant is an investment and cost effective. The amount you spend per hour having a VA to do your admin, frees your time to earn a much higher salary. The maths is simple, spending your time doing low value tasks is inefficient from a financial perspective. Outsourcing your secretarial jobs also gives the opportunity of work to others, and saves you a heap of stress! What’s more, VA services are tax-deductible. You can claim virtual assistant services as a professional expense.
More Time with Family and Friends
Not only can a VA make you more efficient, increase earning potential and rid you of overwhelm, but the real cherry on the cake is you will likely be happier for it. Worrying less about emails and to-dos means you will be more present when you are with friends and family, and you’ll have more time to spend with them because you have someone you trust managing your inbox and admin.
If you want to find out more about the virtual assistants at Eden Assistants click here.
By Ella Breese