At this time of social distancing and unprecedented changes to businesses around the globe, we are asking how you’re doing. How are you adjusting your law practice? Many attorneys we talk to say they are now running a remote law firm. Whether staffing at the office is staggered or the office is closed, there are still clients in need of services. As court reporters, we often work from home so we’re offering our best resources to you.
Current Tools – Can they be used to run a remote law firm?
You still have the tools used pre-COVID-19 at your disposal though you may need to rethink how you’re using them.
- Clients can access their secure portal.
- CRMs are available to track clients and cases.
- Cloud services like Box are still available.
- Phones can be forwarded so you don’t have to use your cell phone number for client calls.
- WealthCounsel and other industry-specific software likely have greater capabilities than what you’ve used previously.
Most importantly, everyone in your office is still available. A small group can go to the office for signings. A legal assistant can research technology for video calls and using CRMs and software to a fuller capacity. Think about what needs to change and how to adapt to what you already use for today’s circumstance.
Rethinking operations as a Remote Law Firm
Even the most basic of operations, like having a weekly team meeting or initial consultations, require adjustments from in-person to phone or video. We recommend video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting, or WebEx which offer the security required for attorneys and their teams.
Think collaboratively on team calls. Ask each person to share three things they worked on or completed since the last meeting as well as something personal. Maybe someone needs help finding a particular item at the store or they need tips for homeschooling. Someone else may offer a positive thought or tip for getting through quarantine. It makes people feel wanted and appreciated and may make running a remote law firm be less daunting of a task.
Another consideration is how to communicate with clients during this time. In Arizona, law firms are considered an essential business but many have opted to work remotely to limit exposure to COVID-19. Depending on the size of the firm or client list, some attorneys are sending mass messages through their email and blind copying (bcc) all clients or a group of clients. Others are using social media messaging and/or email newsletters to communicate:
- Hours of operation
- Whether the team is working remotely, in the office, or something in between
- Ways to reach attorneys and paralegals
- How to schedule appointments (via call, website, email, social media, etc.)
- Where to check the status of an existing case
If you are keeping even a small team at the office or are a small practice, communicate to clients and prospective clients what you are doing to clean the office.
Keep it simple for your team and your clients and don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to rethinking operations.
Setting up space at home for working in a remote law firm.
One of the biggest challenges we have heard from attorneys is finding space at home for confidential client conversations. This is especially challenging now because the entire family is working or schooling from home. If you can manage to have a dedicated workspace in your home, we find that works best. If not, then at the least, set boundaries. Communicate to your family when it is your work time, where you will be working, and that during that time you are not available.
Overall, the message for anyone running a remote law firm is to communicate. Whether with clients, staff, or family, make sure everyone is in the loop as much as they need to be. We all want to feel wanted and appreciated, especially now. Remember you have the resources and people in place or readily available to make this work, at least for the short-term.
We wish you the best. Stay safe and healthy.
In need of a deposition? Herder & Associates is currently scheduling remote depositions. Call 480-481-0649 today.