Why I chose to start a “virtual” law firm

By Published On: December 16, 2020Categories: Articles

These days, “virtual” is everywhere you look. Even if you don’t count yourself as an early adopter, the pandemic has led many people and businesses to move their activities online.
I am one of them.

Over the past decade, I practiced at traditional law firms in downtown Toronto. I couldn’t help but notice the enormous overhead costs and inefficiencies that came along with a traditional brick and mortar law firm. Costs that inevitably got passed on to clients. I also noticed that the clients I really enjoyed helping could not easily afford downtown Toronto lawyers’ fees. Yet, those that really needed our services somehow made it happen. This is all part of the access to justice puzzle the legal profession has been trying to solve for decades.

What really got me thinking was when one of my clients came to see me for an intake meeting at a downtown office. She arrived at our meeting visibly exhausted, after driving several hours following a night shift and navigating downtown Toronto traffic and parking. She told me, “I looked everywhere, but I could only find lawyers practicing in your area (health law and professional regulation) in Toronto.” My immediate thought was: There just has to be a better way.

What if I could create a virtual law firm? A firm that would have allowed my client to get some sleep before our meeting? A firm that delivers legal advice to clients in a place where they feel most comfortable? A firm that could offer more affordable fees for the same quality services I was providing as a downtown Toronto lawyer? This sounded like a clear win-win.

I have been day dreaming of running my own law firm for years. When my husband and I decided to move our family to his hometown, Erin, Ontario, I knew it was time to turn my dream into a reality. So, when our kids were allowed to go back to school in September, it was time for action.

ACL Law started with the vision of harnessing the power of new technology to improve the client experience and affordability of legal services.

It has meant that I have become a student again. This time, in addition to practicing law, I am learning about the amazing and vast array of legal and business tech solutions, and strategically choosing the ones that will enable my vision while protecting client privacy and confidentiality rights. What surprised me most is how much I love it. I haven’t been so excited about practicing law since my law school days.

Going “virtual” was a no brainer. What better time than a pandemic to offer more accessible legal services to health care professionals – who have borne the brunt of this pandemic and have made so many sacrifices this year.

I hope that many more lawyers take advantage of the opportunities a “virtual law firm” can offer them and their clients.

#virtuallaw #healthlaw #healthcareprofessionals #accesstojustice

Carina Lentsch an Ontario health lawyer and an advocate for health care professionals.
She practices in the areas of p,rofessional regulation and discipline, civil litigation, privacy, employment and human rights, consent and capacity, and insurance law.,