In creating the business model for Amata Law Office Suites, we started by looking at the three most common challenges encountered by solo and partner practice law firms; cash flow management, time management and hiring the right employees. Then we customized our service offerings to make sure we were helping to address these challenges. Along the way we have also been able to assist with other challenges such as marketing, saving for retirement, legal research tools and software solutions through our vendor research program and partnerships that allow Amata clients to enjoy the purchasing power that comes from 100’s of law firms.
Amata Law Office Suites has taken services from four distinct industries and created a unique offering that is customized to the unique needs of law firms. The primary service offerings include attorney support services, office space-as-a-service, virtual office programs and live receptionist service. These services are offered individually and bundled with appropriate discounts available.
Many law firms join Amata using one service and, over time, add other services as they need them. For example, a law firm may start with Amata by occupying a few offices. Since they have full-time staff, they do not use Amata’s paralegal services until a staff member takes time off or leaves the firm, at which time the attorney already has a relationship with an Amata paralegal, with a level of trust already established, and the firm begins using Amata’s paralegals on an as-needed basis, with the benefit of reducing their fixed payroll costs and only paying for services they can generally bill back to their clients.
In the following pages we will breakdown each of the services offered by Amata, how law firms incorporate Amata’s staff into their law practice and some of the benefits that are derived from leveraging outside resources.
Attorney Support Services
Amata has created back-office operations similar to those at AM100 law firms, for solo and partner practice law firms.
Our experienced paralegals, administrative assistants, and virtual assistants act as an extension of your law firm. Since our team members are full-time Amata employees, you consistently work with the same team member, just like you would if they were on your payroll. Our paralegals have areas they specialize in so from time to time you a specialist may assist in your work, but you will always have the same team lead and the process will remain the same.
Prior to any work being performed our team members will review the scope of work with you and establish cost expectations. Billing rates for our team members varies based on type of work and the team members experience. Alternative fee and project-based fee arrangements are also available for certain projects. General paralegal fees can range from $65 to $180 per hour and all work is billed in 15-minute increments.
For clients that are using office space, one of our virtual programs or live receptionist services, these rates are automatically discounted by 30% savings.
Daily Runs to Courts, Clerks and Sheriffs Offices
Amata’s paralegal team makes daily runs to the Daley Center, Recorder’s Office, Secretary of State Office, and the Dirksen Federal Building. With an extended line of credit provided to all Amata clients, Amata will pay associated costs for documents and filings, pick up certificates, search the court docket, deliver courtesy copies or handle any other requests to assist with your day-to-day operations and free up time for attorneys and staff at your firm.
At Amata paralegals are billed based on years of experience and expertise in specific subject matters. Our senior paralegals have more than 20 years’ experience and have reached a high level of competence and understanding in several areas of law.
In most cases, a senior paralegal will review or oversee the work of paralegals and paralegal assistants on their team. Many of our paralegals join Amata after spending many years accumulating experience at various law firms. They enjoy the work and appreciate the opportunity Amata offers for advancement and to work in a variety of legal disciplines and with multiple attorneys. In some instances, Amata comes across a promising paralegal candidate with 3 or fewer years of paralegal experience and they join the Amata team as a paralegal assistant. These are highly competent individuals that are able to work directly with senior members of our team to assist attorneys and gain the experience to advance in their career with Amata. Many of the law firms we support prefer to work with the same paralegal team throughout the year. In some instances when the law firm is new to Amata or only uses services occasionally, we match up the work with the best suited team member, with an emphasis on getting you the best quality work at the lowest possible cost.
Amata has been providing administrative assistant services to law firms since 2002. Our administrative assistants work on-site at each Amata office and are available to assist clients with various tasks including e-filing, scheduling messengers, handling express mailing, binding projects, entering billing and posting on social media. Over the past 20 years the work that Amata’s administrative assistants have taken on has increased to accommodate the needs of the attorneys at Amata.
Since administrative assistants are always working on-site it is very easy for attorneys to get to know them and build a high level of confidence in working with them. The administrative assistants at Amata can handle client call backs, scheduling appointments, ordering lunch or running personal errands for attorneys.
A Virtual Assistant can be an invaluable gatekeeper for your law firm, saving you time and reducing the anxiety and stress of running a law practice. Like a good attorney, every virtual assistant has strengths and types of work they really enjoy. A great virtual assistant will be able to sort out problems and pull things together for you to review. They will not be experts at everything, but they will be able to source the best resources for the work you need completed. At Amata we use a team approach to supporting our clients. You always have the same point of contact you are comfortable with, but when that person is on vacation you have someone available to assist you that is familiar with you and your firm. You also benefit from Amata’s vast resources and industry partners.
Amata Law Office Suites has created flexible office space with the needs of solo and partner practice law firms in mind.
Unlike a traditional office lease, when a firm licenses multiple offices they can sign up with the option of canceling an office if a team member leaves the firm and the office is no longer necessary. This allows law firms to match their expenses to their revenues, creating a more profitable and predictable cash-flow model. The office space-as-a-service model is very similar to the way law firms are licensing the software’s their firms are using. They pay a monthly licensing fee for each user and when an attorney leaves the firm, they are able to cancel the license fee for the office and services the attorney was using.
The Amata office model allows law firms to enjoy the same, or better, office accommodations they would have with a traditional lease. The common areas of the office are designed to leave a lasting impression on your clients, with elegant designs, well-appointed furniture, and custom artwork. Individual offices provide confidential and secure space to work, take phone calls and meet with clients. For your support staff, workstations are strategically placed to make sure you have instant access to your team, with an abundance of file storage to make retrieving documents easy.
The cost of the office includes having a receptionist greet your clients, potentially eliminating a full-time position from your payroll. Other amenities that are included at no additional charge are a fully stocked café/lounge to relax and network with other attorneys, phone service, copy, fax, print, and mail equipment, conference rooms and our signature cognac room to end the day sharing stories with other attorneys. Understand the importance of ABA Model Rule 1.6, confidentiality of information, Amata provides every law firm with high-speed internet with secure virtual local area network (VLAN) set up for your firm. This ensures that each Amata client operates on a secure network away from other Amata clients.
To maintain a safe and healthy work environment, touchless sensors have been installed on the doors at all entryways and bathrooms, sneeze guards are set up around workstations and sanitation stations are located throughout all facilities. When it comes to the maintenance of your office, Amata acts as your office manager, removing the need for you to waste valuable time and money taking care of an office.
Virtual Office Programs
Amata’s virtual office programs are customized to suit the needs of law firms. We model our offices off some of the most successful law firms in the country, providing free beverage services, secure high-speed internet, IT support, mail scanning and bank deposit services.
Your virtual office should be set up to help you grow your law firm. Many of our clients start out with a virtual mail only program and expand the program as their firms grow and their needs change.
Amata acts as a business resource for your law firm. As an Amata client you have access to our always expanding network of attorneys, Amata’s third-party research on marketing programs, practice management software, court reporters, accountants that specialize in working with attorneys and many more. Amata virtual clients are able to take advantage of these free services as well as a long list of program features:
- Monthly line of credit for payment of clerk fees and other costs
- Mail scanning and forwarding
- Bank deposit services
- Access to meeting rooms
- Day offices
- Lobby directory listing
- Secure internet
- Large video screens for presentations
- Rooms for video and in-person depositions
- Meeting catering
Conference Rooms and Day Offices
As an Amata virtual office client, full-access to all our office locations is a standard part of our program. Day offices can be reserved and used as your requirements dictate. When you are expecting clients, we make sure they have easy access into the office, greet them when they arrive and help get them set up to meet with you. Prior to your meeting we take care of beverage services, catering when requested and making sure technology tools are working prior to your meeting.
All of our conference rooms are equipped with industry leading technology for video presentations, video depositions and collaboration meetings. You and your guests will have easy access to high-speed wi-fi and conference phones. Through our online web portal, you are able to reserve conference rooms and day offices, connect with other attorneys in Amata’s network and access your account to view conference room credits and retrieve invoice back up for work Amata’s paralegals have done, detailed by matter number.
Live Receptionist Services
The Amata team has been answering phones for law firms for 20+ years and for good reason.
According to a Gallup poll, customers who are engaged during an initial call represent a 23% premium in terms of profitability, revenue and relationship growth over those that go directly to voicemail. Clients call attorneys when they are in need and in today’s culture, they expect an immediate response or they go somewhere else. Having a professional receptionist service answering your calls has a direct effect on profitability.
Besides profitability, there are many other benefits that come with using a professional live answering service. Probably the most valuable benefit being the time you are able to save by not answering robocalls or screening potential new clients. At Amata, other time saving benefits include outbound call assistance, caller notifications and appointment scheduling. These are important services that allow lawyers to better manage their time.
There are many great advantages to be gained by using a live receptionist service and cost savings can be one if the biggest. However, not all live receptionist services are the same and, in many cases, the lower cost providers are worth steering away from.
You can learn more about what to look for in a quality provider in The 5 Keys to Selecting a Live Receptionist Provider. When you consider that payroll is generally a law firms largest expense it makes sense to closely manage payroll expenses to effectively control cash-flow. The cost to maintain full-time salary for a receptionist can be more than 10x the cost to retain a professional live receptionist service. Since the biggest expense for a live receptionist service should be their employees, who answer your calls, it makes sense to avoid those service providers that are cheaper than the average, as this will have a direct effect on the quality service you receive.