Deciding Between a Virtual and an In-House Receptionist for Your Law Firm

Peyton Duplechien • 08 May 2019 • 3 min read

If you manage a law firm, you know the choices you make about how to handle your day-to-day office management have a profound effect on both your ability to take care of your clients and the number of referrals you have coming in. Choices like which answering service to use, where to locate your offices, and how to successfully and ethically market yourself all produce the environment your clients walk into, and making those choices means setting yourself up to communicate the right message to each new person who contacts you.
When it comes to managing your phones, the choice tends to boil down to one between a virtual reception service and a live receptionist there in the office with you. Each choice has its advantages, but if you are trying to manage a law firm with a small operating budget while still connecting with your clients effectively, you need to know that the virtual reception service does have a few advantages.

Benefits of Live Reception on Site

When you have a staff member on site to answer calls and receive your visitors, you gain a few advantages that you just do not get with virtual reception services, but you do pay a price. Advantages include:

  • Having someone to meet and greet clients and callers on site
  • Staff that can answer questions and set appointments in real time as needed
  • A warm, personal touch for every new visitor and caller
  • A real person able to take messages and ask pertinent follow-up questions

The only real disadvantages to having someone on site to perform this service in-house are that it costs quite a bit and you still do not have reception services after hours. Currently, trained receptionists make a median income of over $27,000, so they can be prohibitively expensive for a smaller law firm.

Benefits of a Virtual Receptionist

When you sign up with a virtual service, you gain the ability to control your costs first and foremost. This allows you to pay for the level of connection and messaging you need while providing your customers with many of the same services they receive from an in-house person. That includes warm, personal greetings, transfers, and phone messages. It also includes:

  • 24/7 response so your clients never get an answering machine
  • Bilingual support services available any time they are needed
  • Easily organized messaging through a central dashboard
  • All your messages in one place
  • Consistent service to your callers no matter why or when they are calling
  • Cost savings—virtual receptionists are hundreds per month, not thousands, for most businesses

While there are some disadvantages to foregoing an on-site receptionist for your office, virtual reception services combine the same coverage you are probably already getting from your answering service, and they add in live reception during business hours so you do not have to worry about calls ringing through automatically or about missing the ones you need to take for your law firm.

Using Both Virtual and In-House Reception

The last thing worth mentioning is the way you can realize savings by combining in-house receptionists with the virtual service. For larger offices that need someone there when clients come through the door, this option can handle overflow calls so that your on-site staff is more able to take care of the people who are physically present, with a virtual service answering phones as needed.


No matter which choice you make, the bottom-line savings are quite clear: Virtual reception services provide savings over a live receptionist that can reduce the number of support staffers you need on site, and for the right law firm, they can even completely replace your on-site reception.  Give VoiceNation a call or try out our 7-day Free Trial today to check out our simple pricing plans and to see how our services can help you take your firm to the next level of service.