July 01, 2020 The Big Ideas Issue

Pandemic-Proof Your Practice

As the ongoing health pandemic continues to create challenges, it’s also served as a catalyst for law firms to get serious about effective disaster planning.

Jim Calloway
Two business people work in a shared space while wearing masks.

Two business people work in a shared space while wearing masks.

via Martin-DM / E+ / Getty Images

(This article was written early in the pandemic. As the situation is rapidly developing, please accept our apologies if some items now appear dated.)

The world has changed with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (which causes COVID-19). Hopefully we never again experience a pandemic like that which we have seen, but the pandemic could be the impetus that will result in law firms getting serious about having up-to-date, effective disaster plans in place considering the lessons learned this year. A disaster plan is always important and helps with floods, errant sprinkler systems, hurricanes or wildfires that force employees out of the office; however, there are some law office planning considerations unique to pandemics.

Critical Disaster Plan Topics

One thing is clear in light of COVID-19. Law firms of all sizes need to have disaster plans that include consideration of how the firm will continue to operate remotely.

Practice clear messaging.

An important part of planning for a pandemic is assuring that your lawyers and staff receive clear messaging about what your law firm is doing and what you expect from your team. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided helpful information and recommendations for businesses online, and current epicenters and outbreaks of diseases, but law firm owners need to distill it into a plan of action that is flexible and responsive to the evolving situation.

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