For many lawyers, navigating the world during the pandemic has been an adventure in remote working. While there are some functions that require hands-on staff, for the most part, law firms can function smoothly with practically an entire remote office. What Covid-19 has illustrated for many firms is that remote work is indeed attainable, and adapting to change can be summed up by the fact that for the first time in its history, even the United States Supreme Court has switched to hearing oral arguments by phone.
As lockdowns continue to slowly lift, law firms, like any other business need to think about proceeding in a radically changed environment for the foreseeable future. How does a firm begin to bring people back into the office, and how will they perform their tasks in a safe and efficient manner? Mixing virtual and on-site personnel might be harder than it seemed when almost everyone was working remotely. It is important to maintain the underpinning of your office – the things that form a common culture while reinforcing social cohesion and interaction. Oftentimes, the in-person staff and their managers continue to maintain the positive elements of working together while the social culture of the remote workers dims leaving them to feel isolated and at a loss for a sense of common purpose, leaving organizational purpose to fall apart.
Working off site may make it more challenging to stay ahead of deadlines and associated tasks, especially if much of the work being conducted for legal clients is held in individual staffer’s inboxes or calendars. It is critical that your firm makes sure that each and every case is handled properly. Everything needs to work in tandem. With some employees in house and some working remotely, the task of legal workflow management can grow quickly out of hand. Law Ruler has a legal workflow management software system that will control and monitor every process while keeping your staff focused on every project. For example, once the particular legal milestones for each practice area are decided on, the necessary tasks can be earmarked and created at any given time. Next, staff members are assigned to each task, and when everything is prepared, they can be cloned to other practice areas and adjusted to work flawlessly. Since some members of the practice may be working remotely on a project, it is important to know whether your staff is keeping all their balls in the air. To do this, Law Ruler’s legal workflow management system allows attorneys access to progress reports that show if any cases have gone missing, and which need attention.
Law Ruler’s legal reports and analytics programs will show you how to manage and ultimately grow your practice, letting you see exactly who is signing the most cases regardless of where they are working. Having the best reports is the difference between failing and succeeding. As the docket gets larger it becomes harder to personally oversee every case. The reports and analytics software will quickly become your number one ally.
When a firm’s staff is spread out through different locations, the need for accurate communication and reporting can be difficult to accomplish. But the reports and analytics program will automatically schedule reports at a time that your staff creates – it can be daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the need and the scope of the project. Tracking case metrics, new signups and productivity is crucial to keeping a firm alive and functioning during these trying times, and Law ruler’s reports and analytics will provide you with powerful and actionable insights.
While your law firm may be reorganized to handle the work asked of it, it is essential to remember the importance of accurate and consistent information disseminated to your current and potential clientele. People are under much duress at this time, their worry over their legal matters are compounded by the stress of the state of the world. Now is the time to reaffirm your firm’s commitment to your legal clients with sound and reliable information and advice. Many of them may be fearful of coming into the office due to health and safety concerns, so having a plan to stay connected with your legal clients as they wait for the outcome of their legal matters is especially important. Consider offering remote services to your legal clients. Online intake forms and automated text and intake forms will deliver reminder messages via email and text with the click of a keyboard. With a scripted approach, an intake meeting can take place on the phone. Online forms can also be shared online reducing paper, speeding up the intake process and increasing potential client sign ups. Law Ruler intake forms are mobile friendly and can be viewed on laptops, Smart and Windows devices as well. Now may be the best time to consider new marketing channels that can be leveraged when consumers are more likely to be researching future hiring decisions.
Now is also the time to fine tune your brand. Potential clients may not be currently able to hire your firm now, but by possessing a strong brand you will build trust and enhance the loyalty of your clients both current and new. A strong brand is transparent, authentic and client focused. When your client trusts you, he will be loyal to you. By providing support and counsel on the matters your firm represents, you position yourself as a trusted expert. Even if they cannot come to you now, clients still have legal matters that will need attention, and if you have value, they will come.
The slowdown in business will not last forever. This is the best time to learn about emerging legal issues and delve into them deeply via publishing opportunities. Having a byline in thoughtful publications will stay with you throughout your legal career establishing you as a thought leader. Also take this time over the next few months to stay in front of your business plan and set goals that can reasonably be attained given the current landscape, and when things change for the better, your firm will be ready to achieve all of your future goals.
While there are more questions and theories than answers about Covid-19, balancing the safety needs of your staff and clients is paramount. It is time to help clients feel calm so they can be strategic regarding where they are, what they are doing and how your firm can position them for the next round of change. People remember how you make them feel. Ask them how they are and what you can do for them, and when the world settles down, they will be at your door ready for you to help them.