How to Overcome the Fear of Hiring a Virtual Paralegal/Assistant – Week 3

How to decide what to delegate to who?

Delegating presents many challenges.  We all have a hard time asking for help or knowing what we need help with. There are many specialists and business bloggers out there that seem to have  a lot of different opinions about how to determine what to delegate and what not delegate.  Really, in my opinion there is no right or wrong answer to what to delegate as long as you have a realistic idea of what you want to achieve by delegating.  In other words you must have a realistic view of, what problems you have within your day-to-day business or what challenges you face that can be overcome by delegating certain tasks to someone else?  You need to delegate your weakness to someone else and keep the things you are good at for yourself.  You should also delegate tasks that too large to tackle yourself.  These two concepts are the basic keys to successful delegation for someone just getting started.

Many attorneys and paralegals have asked me how they should determine what to delegate to a virtual paralegal or virtual assistant and what to keep in house for their in house staff.  Let’s face it just because you hire a virtual assistant or virtual paralegal doesn’t mean you still won’t want some in house staff.  Some of my clients have in house staff and some don’t.  Obviously, I believe that my clients don’t need to have an in house staff, but I can’t stop them if they feel the need to have a live person in their office.  Since many of my clients do have help in the office, I am going to discuss how to divide the work between in house and your virtual paralegal first.  Then we will discuss what to do if you only want to use a virtual paralegal/virtual assistant.

The first step to developing a plan to delegate office tasks between your in house staff and your virtual assistant or virtual paralegal is you need to gather up some supplies to assist you in the developing of this plan.

The things you will need are:

1. Your calendar
2. Your tickle book if you have one
3. White dry erase board with markers or a pad of paper and pen.

After you have gathered your materials, you will need to start preparing your first list.  For this stage, I like to use a white dry erase board and different colored markers.

The first step of this stage is divide the board into sections. These are going to be the following sections:

1. In house assistant
2. Virtual Assistant/Virtual Paralegal
3. Priorities
4. Next 30 days
5. Weekly tasks
6. Next 60 days

For the purposes of this example, we are going to have six sections.  Under the first two sections, which are your in house staff and your virtual helping hand.  You’ll start by making a list of your in-house staff’s strengths, skill set and the daily duties he or she is currently doing.  Then do the same for your virtual paralegal/assistant.  When you’re making these first lists ask yourself these questions before putting anything down under each person:

1.  What are his/her strong skills?

2.  In the current tasks that he or she is currently handling do the tasks fit their skill set and strong suits?

The answers to these questions will assist you in assigning strengths to each of your in-house and virtual paralegal.  After your lists of strengths are complete, you need to take a look at your cases, tickle file, and calendar. Use this information to prepare you lists for your priorities, tasks due in next 30 days,  due weekly and then finally the tasks that are due in the next 60 days.

Now, that you have evaluated your calendar, ongoing projects and case files, take a look at your in house staff and your virtual helping hands strengths and pair these tasks up with the assistant, whose strengths are in that particular task.

If you don’t have an in house staff member, the task of deciding what to delegate is a little more simplistic.  You may want to schedule an appointment with your virtual assistant/ virtual paralegal to first figure out his or her schedule.  Then discuss your needs and your due date schedule.  Let that decision be your guide as to what to delegate and when.

These guidelines after a few times of dividing tasks will not only get faster, but improve your decisions regarding what to keep in house and what to send to your virtual helping hand, but it will also improve your in house productivity by freeing up some of the stress  you or your in house staff  may experience.

Come back next week for the final week of Best Virtual Paralegal LLC’s How to overcome the fear of hiring a virtual paralegal/assistant- Blog Series where we will discuss: “Why the fear of training  your staff should not hold you back from going virtual with a virtual assistant or virtual paralegal!”


Holly Sheriff is not attorney and cannot give legal advice; is not a substitution for an attorney. The author is a virtual assistant. Best Virtual Paralegal LLC is a full service virtual assistant company; offering specialized services through training and education to law firms, real estate agents, and small businesses. This article is the author’s personal opinion, comments, and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. 2012© All Rights Reserved. Holly Teel, Best Virtual Paralegal LLC