You don’t need to be a mega-firm or spend megabucks to have your own
virtual office on the internet. Even a small firm or sole practitioner can
afford the latest in web-based technology to take your office and its
information resources with you as you travel. The price is right--free!!

You can utilize aspects of existing free services to build your own cyber
office. The best example of such free services is Yahoo! You may be
familiar with Yahoo! ,as a search engine and internet portal; but have you
really taken the time to review what it now offers for free. All you need to
do is to sign up for any of the Yahoo! services and choose a password.
Your Yahoo! ID and password will allow you access to any of Yahoo!’s
free services.

E-mail is the first aspect of our virtual office. Communicate with clients,
opponents, associates, and others using your own free e-mail account on
Yahoo! This e-mail account is perfectly capable of being your only account
or it can serve as a very useful adjunct to your main office account.

Your Yahoo! Mail account is password protected with both standard and
secure mode for messages. You and your associates can set up an
unlimited number of free accounts with your own distinctive e-mail
addresses and, for a few dollars more, you can have your own domain
name. I chose to go with the free account with an address of This account is full-featured with 6.0
megabytes of free storage. 25 megabyte storage is available for $19.95 a

Your Yahoo! Mail account provides an “inbox” along with other user-
defined folders. Incoming messages may filtered; i.e., if you get some
“spam” (unsolicited commercial e-mail), you may set your controls to
eliminate any further messages from that address. A new feature
automatically recognizes bulk e-mail and directs it to a file, which can be
emptied easily. Other filters sort your incoming mail automatically into
designated folders or to your mobile devices; e,g, Personal Digital

Assistant or web-enabled cellular phone.

E-mail received with attachments may be viewed, scanned, cleaned,
downloaded, or saved to your Yahoo! Briefcase. You can view and check
every attachment before downloading. If you receive a virus alert, the
attachment can be discarded. All of this activity take place safely on Yahoo!
without the infected file ever entering your computer. This free
attachment scan provides first class security for your e-mail and

A fully functional address book accepts hundreds of entries with complete
contact information and allows you to insert e-mail addresses directly into
the address or forwarding line of your message blanks. The address book
also provides a list function, which allows you to mail as few as two or
your entire address book with a single click.

For $4.95 per month, you can have your e-mail messages delivered to any
phone for playback. You may send and receive voicemail messages from
your Yahoo! Mail account. Your own domain name is only $35.00 per year.

The most useful Yahoo! Mail feature is free; i.e., “Check Other Mail”.
With a few clicks and keystrokes, you can configure Yahoo! Mail to check
up to three (3) other e-mail accounts. All you need is the pop (Post Office
Protocol) mailbox address from your network administrator or e-mail
provider and you can use Yahoo! Mail to access your main office account
from any internet accessible computer. You can retrieve mail from all your
other accounts into your Yahoo! Mailbox!

I like to set up two “Check Other Mail” accounts, one which allows me the
option of saving the messages on the main office server and one which can
delete all messages transferred to Yahoo! Mail. This prevents my main
office mailbox from reaching its maximums and shutting down while I’m
traveling for long periods of time. For those of us who are obsessive-
compulsive, this feature allows for doing business during vacations. If you
prefer, vacation response will send a custom, automatic message response
when you are away (Please remember to temporarily unsubscribe from any
list servs). You can also pick up your e-mail from your home computer
and/or set up a similar feature for your spouse or business traveling


As useful as Yahoo! Mail can be, it is only one feature of your virtual office.
Yahoo! Calendar is a scheduling program with daily, weekly, monthly, and
yearly grids for appointments, meetings and tasks. The Yahoo! Calendar
page presents you with the local weather for your ZIP code. The calendar
is completely searchable for events and tasks and the various formats can
be printed out to carry with you. To allow others to see your calendar,
activate sharing and send them to your individual url (universal resource
locator=internet address).

If you need to take some quick notes, Yahoo! Notepad will allow individual
notes of up to 5120 characters. The notes may be filed in folders and are

Yahoo! Briefcase allows the user to access and share files, documents and
photos from anywhere. The documents could be closing documents. Share
those drafts of deeds, notes & mortgages before closing. The photos could
be exhibits from your negligence case. The possibilities are unlimited. A
recent upgrade even allows you to host streaming videos on Yahoo!
Briefcase for free.

Yahoo! Maps will store your favorite locations for driving directions. You
can easily route to or from home, work, the bank, or anywhere else! I store
my office address and then route to my destination. I can view or print
both the route maps and turn-by-turn driving directions. Reverse
directions are also available for places with lots of one-way streets; e.g.,
Boston. These maps and driving directions can be sent to your clients. If
they’ve never been to your office, the courthouse, or the bank, clients will
appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending these detailed maps and

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