If you are like most Americans, you knew the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 was coming, but you had no idea the widespread and sudden impact that it would have on people and law firms alike. This rapidly growing pandemic is changing every aspect of life, and adjustments to the way you conduct business as a law firm are necessary.
You are likely already having to change the way you practice law and run your law firm. How can you keep your law practice thriving during these unprecedented and uncertain times? As you navigate these uncharted waters, there are several steps you can implement today to help your law firm remain healthy and stay the course you have always intended it to take.
Communicate With Your Clients
No matter what type of law you practice, your clients are the heart of your business. As an attorney, you are already aware of how important it is to communicate with clients. When an emergency occurs, whether it be on a large or small scale, your clients will look to you for your expertise and advice. Your communication during this time is imperative to your business, both now and in the future.
Supporting your clients during a time of disaster can help mitigate the potential losses that can arise from interruptions to your business. To keep the lines of communication open, try sending an email blast and/or post an update on social media. Reassure your clients that you understand the present situation and that you will provide them with updates as they become available. Be sure to mention that your firm will continue to serve them during this time and offer them any available insight into the status of the court system, as well as how their personal legal matter could be affected.
Alternatives to In-Person Meetings
You may already meet virtually with some clients, opposing counsel or other professionals in the course of your law practice. If you do, you are already ahead of many firms who are now scrambling to boost their infrastructure as offices close their doors, causing lawyers and staff to move their operations to their homes.
Virtual meetings, by phone or video, often take place when it is inconvenient or impractical to meet in person. For example, when a significant physical distance exists between you and the parties you need to reach or perhaps when time is of the essence. Now is the time to extend these methods to as many people as possible.
With COVID-19, social distancing is paramount to reducing the rate of its transmission and keeping everyone safe. At this time, many parents are working from home or are at home because their children’s schools are closed. To keep your client’s legal matters moving forward, try crafting an internal protocol on virtual meetings to ensure consistency in experience. Be sure to let your clients know how they can reach you and your lawyers.
Your options for physical meeting places are now quite limited. Perhaps you used to meet clients at libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, or even at their hospital bedside. With these places no longer being an option, you can still meet conveniently, thanks to today’s virtual technology.
Also, do not forget your internal stakeholders during this tumultuous time. Use video conferencing to engage directly with your lawyers and staff. This step will encourage resilience and loyalty to your law firm during times of disaster.
Keep Abreast of the Rapid Changes in the Legal Realm
The legal industry is changing in real-time as it reacts to this infectious illness. Be sure to keep current with the changes in the federal and state court operations. There are adjustments being made to trial procedures and jury management that could affect your law firm’s matters. In-person access to the judicial system and attendance at hearings are being severely restricted, which will be important information for your clients and their family members to be aware of. Even if you do not have a courtroom or trial centered practice, now is the time to be a resource in your community for truthful information that they can share with their network.
Be proactive in learning about the changes occurring at your local level and communicate any updates or bumps in the road to your clients as soon as possible. You may not be able to control what is going on; however, by anticipating how your firm will handle changes and relaying that information to your clients quickly, you can do your part to provide outstanding customer service.
Increase Your Community Involvement
Whenever possible, consider how you can help in your community and take action quickly. Encourage your employees to do the same. Doing so will not only help your community, but it will also strengthen your relationship with it. An act of public service, or even a donation to a reputable organization in your community, will show that you care about the lives of those around you and could even boost your business. You will never regret helping others, especially in times of great need.
Highlight your steps in advertising
The silver lining in all of this may be a new angle to your advertising. Whether it’s a blog, a tweet, a status update, email blast, or a radio or television commercial, tell your potential clients what you are doing to decrease the risk of exposure, yet continue with business as usual. Be sure to highlight:
- Your ability to meet with clients remotely and the benefits this option entails, especially as it pertains to COVID-19
- Steps you are taking to keep your office clean and sanitized
- Your continued community involvement and commitment through virtual methods
- The services you provide that may impact patients and their families who are impacted by COVID-19, such as creating a medical power of attorney
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