When it comes to figuring out what to do with your law firm after the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few good tips to consider. Returning to the law office after COVID-19: Tips for Lawyers. Read about what you should be considering when thinking about reopening the law office. For example, marketing something people do not need or cannot afford is very problematic. If yours is a firm whose practice has frozen in light of shelter-in-place orders, or you have the work but your clients have lost their ability to pay, now is the time for thinking outside the box, with a focus on how you can keep your business afloat. At some point, as everybody gets a bit more oriented to the chaos around them you will need to turn to short – and medium-term ways to solidify your law practice throughout the pandemic and start transitioning your firm to the next stage of its development.
No one knows when this health crisis will run its course, but almost everyone can agree that the world will be markedly different than the one that existed before this all started. There is not and old and familiar “normal” to get back to anymore and the market in which you used to sell legal services has changed. The one that eventually replaces it will be sufficiently different than your business pre-pandemic. But how will this crisis impact the legal profession over the long term? Will you eventually return to the legal world that once was? Probably not. However, initiating a paradigm shift in how you envision your legal aspirations going forward will help you to adapt and succeed in a changing world. Please read these “Returning to the law office after COVID-19: Tips for Lawyers”
The first priority for many law firms is to keep up to date on health and safety standards at the office. Law firms can better prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace by responding in a way that considers the level of disease transmission in the local community and revise business response plans accordingly. Employers need to consider how best to decrease the possible spread of COVID-19 if they want to prevent the impact it can have their firm. This should include strategies to:
Prevent and Reduce Transmission Among Associates
- Monitor state, federal, and local public health information about COVID-19 regulations and recommendations and ensure that employees have access to that information. Employees who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and stay home and follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not be encouraged to return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with their healthcare providers. The same is true for employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19.
- Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks of employees before they enter the facility in accordance with state and local public health authorities and, if available, your occupational health services. If you are implementing in-person health checks, conduct them respectfully yet safely. You will want to implement social distancing with a barrier or partition controls, or personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the screener. However, relying only on PPE alone is a less effective control and is more difficult to implement, especially given PPE shortages and corresponding training requirements.
- Check the office to identify potential workplace hazards related to COVID-19. By using appropriate combinations of controls from the hierarchy of controls to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as engineering controls, workplace administrative policies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers from the identified hazards.
Maintain healthy business operations
- Assess your essential functions and the reliance that your clients and potential clients have on your firm.
- Be prepared to change your business practices, if needed, to maintain critical operations
- If other companies provide your business with contract or temporary employees, talk with them about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
Maintain a healthy work environment
- Since COVID-19 may be spread by those who are asymptomatic, your firm should evaluate and institute controls according to the hierarchy of controls to protect their employees and members of the public.
- Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and are providing acceptable indoor air quality for the current occupancy level for each space.
- Increase outdoor air ventilation, using caution in highly polluted areas.
- Another obstacle to innovation and change, especially during the pandemic, is a law practice’s fear of technology. Many lawyers have persisted in their fear of technology, viewing it as a threat to their clients and themselves. But as we know now, almost overnight, that has changed – the COVID-19 crisis has reframed legal services and during that, technology has become a lifeline. In a matter of weeks, any lawyers who still harbored a fear of technology have of necessity come to see it as a lifeline to the survival of their practices and their continuing ability to serve their clients. Going forward, that will fundamentally reshape the legal profession’s use and adoption of technology. Law Ruler is a legal CRM that offers an all-in-one solution that is easy-to-use especially during these times, and includes unlimited e-signature, phone, SMS Text, email marketing automation, and online intake forms, and e-signature making leads and potential clients slipping through the cracks is a thing of the past. Investing in law practice management software that makes use of platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, will help to establish eye to eye contact and a bond that will make all the difference when it comes to staying connected to future and existing clients. Enabling complete access from anywhere using a PC, Mac, or a mobile device using Google Chrome is a must have, and the Law Ruler mobile edition, the software to choose as it is compatible with iPads, iPhones, Android, and a lot more.
With good legal CRM software from a leading legal practice management software provider like Law Ruler, almost any document can be made into a reusable document template. Using Law Ruler document templates and automation is easy – take any document from Microsoft Word and after locating the mail merge codes for each field that you want to add to the document, paste the Law Ruler merge codes into your document. By using the web-based client portal in the legal practice management software your clients will have 24/7 access as well as updates about their case enabling easy communication and collaboration and in an encrypted and secure online environment.
We are living in a world that is vastly different from a few short months ago and is likely to continue changing in the coming months. We all must do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard our employees, clients, and communities. The conditions that we are now adapting are changing the way we operate our businesses and daily routines. We must re-examine the ways in which we have socialized, worked, and lived in the so-called “normal” times and find new ways to continue to prosper. Working remotely with the proper tools is one-way law firms have relied on to move on constructively and safely. Smart lawyers are acknowledging that there is no way to avoid some of the coming changes, and predicting the future is a questionable past time. I hope you benefited from Returning to the law office after COVID-19: Tips for Lawyers. During these uncertain times, Law Ruler can provide you with the legal technology to grow your law practice while keeping your staff and your clientele safe. Click here, for a free demo.