The coronavirus and the subsequent quarantine have turned economic life upside down, both in the U.S. and around the world. Law firms have not been exempt from the upending. The legal system is on an effective holiday. Courthouses are closed. Most people that are able to work remotely are doing so. Smart leadership right now is asking how to handle strategic planning for law firms during these unprecedented times.
The first step is to look at the basic nuts and bolts of keeping your firm going. We’re going to assume that a good chunk of your personnel—if not everyone—is working from home. But people are still going to call a lawyer with questions and you need to be sure a real, live person is answering the call. Be sure that calls to the office number are being redirected to someone’s cell phone.
If your firm has partners, you can take turns being the one “on-call.” Your legal assistant can also have gatekeeping as a part of their new responsibilities during the lockdown.
You also want to be certain that clients and prospects know you are available for video conferencing. A lot of people might be using quarantine to look at matters like estate planning or other complex areas of law. Being able to see their lawyer face-to-face—even if it’s only by Zoom or some other tool—will make them feel better about moving forward.
In that regard, email outreach to clients offering video conferencing availability may be helpful. Even if clients don’t take you up on the offer (which most won’t), your availability will be appreciated.
Finally, retarget those prospects you connected with that seemed viable and then fell off the map. We’re not suggesting you telemarket them to death. However, an email to everyone who has reached out to your office and a phone call to high-priority prospects is certainly reasonable.
If you’re taking the above steps, you’re doing what you can to keep the wheels of activity greased during the lockdown. There’s still likely more time left in the day. Now is the time to take a long view of your practice and your career.
What have you been wanting to do professionally that the busyness of the courtroom schedule has kept you from? The window to move forward on that exists right now. Maybe it’s exploring a new practice area for your firm, one that would require additional licensing. Get started on that prep work. Maybe it’s laying the groundwork in your digital marketing campaigns.
Perhaps it’s something as simple as better professional networking. Now’s the time to call that other attorney you’ve been wanting to meet with. Have coffee over Zoom and talk about where your practice is going.
The coronavirus and quarantine are real problems for all businesses, but problems come with real opportunities. People will remember how you reacted in a crisis. Were you there for them? You’ll be remembered if you took the long-term steps you’ve always wanted to take for your practice and your career. Don’t miss the moment.