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Greg Kim's virtual venture.

To those who knew him, it wasn't a huge shock to hear that attorney Greg Kim had left Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel (the Top 250 firm at which Kim was a partner) to form his own firm. For years, Kim's been pretty vocal about his desire to "incentivize" lawyers to work more efficiently and get away from the traditional practice of billing by the hour. With the formation of Vantage Counsel, Kim's new "virtual" law office, he believes he's finally found a solution.

By relieving his firm of what is typically any business' biggest overhead--office space--Kim says Vantage Counsel is able to pass on savings of up to 50 percent to its clientele. Because of the firm's atypical pricing model, which includes fixed-fee contracts and discounted rates for on-site work ("because, why should we charge them to use their office space?" says Kim), lawyers also benefit.

"The problem with the current system is that, because attorneys bill by the hour, the more inefficient the attorney, the more they get paid and the more the client pays," says Kim, who believes that more local businesses should look at incorporating technologies that allow employees to work remotely to save on overhead costs.

Kim says building a virtual office is just a matter of piecing together the right technologies. In addition to the usual host of wireless devices--PDAs, cell phones, laptops and the ever-popular Blackberry--Vantage Counsel will eventually have a central server, akin to its bricks-and-mortar counterparts, except that it will be accessible via any broadband connection.

"We're in the process of building a platform on which all of our tech needs can reside, and we're finding that most of the technology already exists. But we've hunted around and haven't really found anything that combines it all to meet our needs, so we're having to pull it all together ourselves," says Kim. "I think if you can create a virtual platform that other businesses can adopt, there'd be a huge market for that."

At least, that's what he's hoping. Kim says once Vantage Counsel pieces together its own "virtual platform" for working remotely, he hopes to turn it into a separate revenue stream by licensing the technology to other companies looking to go virtual. "It's a big advantage to be able to use your laptop to dial into your company server, or have access to a Web-based service that offers everything: your email, faxing, billing, word processing, calendar and collaborative tools for one fee. I haven't seen anyone put that together and offer it on a per-month basis as a service, and I think there's a big market for that," says Kim. "We could start by licensing it to attorneys, but I assume we could do it for other professions, as well. I mean, it's Hawaii--Who doesn't: dream of someday sitting on the beach and working?"

TIGR BY THE NUMBERS

AGRITOURISM:

2003: $33.9 million 2000: $26 million

SOURCE: HAWAII AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE

AQUACULTURE:

2003: $27.7 million 2002: $25.2 million 2001: $22.2 million

SOURCE: HAWAII AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE

PRIVATE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES:

Biotech, 2001: 37 Biotech, 1997: 20

IT, 2002: 733 IT, 1997: 441

Telecommunication, 2001: 209 Telecommunication, 1997: 167

Total tech companies, 2001: 1,152 Total tech companies, 1997: 756

SOURCE: DBEDT

FILM:

2003: $81 million 2002: $147 million 2001: $83 million

SOURCE: HAWAII STATE FILM OFFICE
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Targeted Industries Grown Report
Author:Youn, Jacy L.
Publication:Hawaii Business
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:557
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