There can be no denying that we live in an unprecedented time. Between the fast spread of a highly contagious and potentially dangerous virus, the millions of people thrown out of work, businesses shuttering, stay-at-home orders, and the general fear of getting sick, the current situation is mind-boggling, to say the least. What will the future hold—for ourselves, our clients, and our law firms?
We must obviously proceed a day at a time, but remember that panic is almost as bad an enemy as the disease. To that end, let’s spend a few blog posts addressing some of the more common questions attorneys may have about how the Coronavirus pandemic may affect their firms, and what are the best courses of action. Let’s begin with one of the most pressing questions:
How Can I Retool My Firm to Work Remotely During the Crisis?
One of the few silver linings of experiencing a pandemic in the 21st Century is that many of us are capable of continuing to work from home. As an attorney with your own firm, the process of converting to telecommuting should be fairly straightforward, both for you and any employees you have. Some ways to simplify this process:
Set up cloud computing and virtual desktops. Various platforms will allow you and your employees to log into a secure workspace from any computer, and keeping everything cloud-based means your sensitive documents stay secure on remote servers rather than employees’ private devices.
Arrange teleconferencing with your clients. Just as doctors are switching to video appointments, attorneys can easily do the same. Most people have access to some device that enables video chat. Zoom, for example, is a free platform that lets you set up a chat room that your clients can join by clicking a link.
Digitize as many documents as possible. For paperwork requiring signatures, try an e-signature service like DocuSign or HelloSign to keep from having to push paperwork in the office.
Try to postpone as many court dates as possible. This shouldn’t be much of a problem if you live in a city where the courthouses have been closed. If you must go to court, the latest guidance says you should wear a face mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and wash your hands frequently.
These are just a few suggestions, but you’ll find that many functions of your law office (if not all) can be conducted online—and that means you can likely conduct business at home until we get the “all clear.”