If you’re just starting your own immigration law firm and can’t keep up with case work, or want to simply get more help so that you can spend less time on case preparation and other administrative tasks, you might be thinking of hiring an immigration paralegal. But for many, hiring and managing a full-time, in-house paralegal may not be feasible financially, or may not be needed on a full-time basis. The solution? Consider hiring a virtual immigration paralegal to augment your staff.
Just like with receptionist tasks, which can be outsourced to a virtual receptionist, paralegal and other administrative case work can be outsourced. These tasks may include data collection, research, interviews, and drafting documents or reviewing forms related to your clients’ cases.
So let’s dive into what a virtual immigration paralegal is, how working with a virtual paralegal can benefit your immigration law firm, and a few specific virtual immigration paralegal companies, and broader immigration support services you can look at.
What’s a virtual immigration paralegal?
A virtual paralegal, is a paralegal that provides paralegal services remotely and often, though not always, as a contractor or outsourced service rather than as a full-time staff member. So, while a virtual immigration paralegal can be a full-time staff member who is simply working remotely, this article is going to focus on companies that provide part-time or as-needed immigration paralegal services remotely.
And in case you’re just getting started on your journey as an attorney and looking to hire your first paralegal, note that depending on your state, paralegals may or may not need to be certified. Make sure you’re aware of your state’s guidelines before you hire anyone. If you’re ever in doubt about the rules concerning working with paralegals, make sure you review the model rules set by the American Bar Association.
How can a virtual immigration paralegal benefit your firm?
One major benefit of hiring a virtual immigration paralegal is saving you time by removing the need to train and directly supervise a full-time employee. Instead, by delegating these tasks to an experienced virtual immigration paralegal, you can free up time to work on more substantial legal or business tasks, or to simply have more time for yourself and your loved ones.
Another benefit is reducing overhead cost. Hiring full-time staff can be expensive and, depending on where your practice is, not sustainable. Given that virtual immigration paralegals are contractors, work remotely, have their own computer setup and have their own benefits, you can get the help of a paralegal without the potentially unaffordable cost of a full-time employee.
Finally, hiring a virtual immigration paralegal gives you flexibility, since you’re only utilizing them when needed. For example, in the employment- based immigration context, certain periods of the year, like H-1B cap season, may be very high-volume in terms of administrative tasks and paperwork. Outsourcing those tasks to a virtual immigration paralegal can be incredibly helpful, especially if your firm is small. However, at times when your workload is manageable, or during times when you’re waiting on action from USCIS, you may not have a need for a paralegal. Working with a virtual immigration paralegal service gives you the flexibility to pay for paralegal support only during busy times only when they’re needed.
Now that we’ve discussed at least some of the benefits for a virtual immigration paralegal, here are a few such services to consider. But before we get to it, please note that Docketwise does not endorse or otherwise have any affiliation with any of the below companies - we are simply providing a non-exhaustive list of virtual immigration paralegal services for you to consider. Always do additional independent research before hiring any professional service!
With that, let’s dive in.
Here are some virtual immigration paralegal services to consider
As we noted above, virtual immigration paralegal services can support immigration attorneys flexibly, affordably and skillfully. In these short reviews, we’re focusing on the types of services each of these firms offer so you can get an idea of whether they are a good fit for your firm.
There are more options out there, since this is an industry still in a growth phase, but here are four options to get you started.
- Immigration Document Solutions mostly focuses on support services for family-based immigration. With a strong focus on assisting attorneys in completing forms, IDS also assists in translations between English and Spanish, and notary services. All services have flat fees.
- Paravisa Legal provides paralegal services for cases in both US and global immigration. With previous experience in one of the largest firms in the world, Paravisa’s staff provides support services in family and employment-based immigration in the US as well as work and business visas at a global level.
- Pocket Paralegal has been providing virtual immigration paralegal services for over 15 years, long before today’s remote work culture. Pocket Paralegal focuses on areas of family-based, employment-based, asylum, VAWA and removal defense cases, specializing in VAWA waivers and asylum and other affidavits - two areas of immigration law that are complex, sensitive and time-consuming.
- Immigration Paralegal Services was founded by immigrants and their services include family-based immigration, removal and deportation defense and broader legal research and brief-writing. IPS offers a combination of flat-fee and either hourly or per-project pricing, depending on the needs.
Outsourcing other immigration support services
You may be wondering whether there are other outsourced support services you could use to get additional help with non-paralegal work. If you’re looking for more general, legally-focused virtual assistants, check out our blog post on hiring a virtual assistant for your immigration law firm.
But if you’re looking for more specific back-office or secretarial support, here are just a few options to consider. And again, as mentioned above, always do additional independent research to see if these, or other services might fit your needs.
- Exigent provides both immigration law support services and general administrative task outsourcing. They do have more traditional visa petition drafting services for employment-based visas and green cards, as well as family-based immigration cases. But they also provide I-9 compliance and immigration court docketing support.
- While Lawfecta offers paralegal services, their legal secretarial and virtual assistant services make them stand out as an outsourcing service. This may be a better fit for you if you’re on the market to outsource administrative services, but not necessarily paralegal services. One highlight of Lawfecta is that it allows you to pick a specialist to outsource based on their resumes, so you can hire a paralegal, virtual assistant, or legal secretary with the right combination of qualifications and experience.
- Upwork is an open outsourcing marketplace with thousands of professionals performing every possible administrative task you may need help with. From virtual assistants to graphic designers, proofreaders, copywriters, accountants, customer support specialists, if it’s a job to be done, there is someone in Upwork who can do it for you at a competitive rate. If you’re unsure about jumping into outsourcing legal work, an administrative project through a freelancer you find at Upwork can be a good place to start. If you want to hire a freelancer with experience in immigration law, you can set that specific experience as one of your search filters in Upwork to limit the scope of applicants eligible to apply.
Even if you outsource part of your work, Docketwise keeps your case management in one place
Our main goal is to help immigration lawyers do what they do best - keep track of their work in one place. Docketwise can help you streamline and digitize your practice, so that you can spend more of your time applying your legal knowledge to achieve the most positive outcome possible for your immigration law clients.
If you want to learn more about how Docketwise can help you streamline your practice — from client questionnaires to form-filling to case management and more — schedule a demo to talk to one of our team members.
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