Let’s address another pressing question attorneys may have about helping their law firms weather the Coronavirus pandemic.
What Can I Do to Keep My Firm Afloat if I Start Losing Clients?
Aside from the fear of getting deathly ill, this is probably one of the biggest concerns law firm owners may be facing right now. Unless you’ve managed to sock away a large savings pad, chances are you’re not prepared to survive 2-3 months with no cash flow. What happens if unemployment stops too many clients from being able to pay you—or if the crisis itself makes them reprioritize your services as less essential?
We can approach this question from several angles: finding new business, saving current business, and cutting back expenses. Some suggestions:
Finding New Business: Retool Your Services to Address the Crisis
Despite what you may be experiencing personally, the Coronavirus pandemic has actually put attorneys in high demand, according to the ABA. This crisis has opened up a whole new barrage of legal questions for healthcare workers, businesses, employees, etc. regarding fair, legal treatment and best practices—and these people may need both advice and legal representation. Some law firms have even set up special task forces to address these concerns. By looking into these questions yourself, you may be able to find a whole new set of clients to replace those who are going out the back door.
Saving Current Business: Reach Out to Your Client Base
You’ve invested time in developing consistent, loyal clients, and those relationships should be able to withstand this kind of event. To whatever extent is financially feasible for you, try to galvanize that loyalty by offering to lower or suspend payments for clients who are struggling. Let them know you’re in this battle together with them. Doing so may lower your short-term cash flow, but it’s better than the alternative, and keeping those clients will help assure you still have a business when things get back to normal.
Cutting Back Expenses
Sometimes, you just need to “trim the fat,” which may require making some difficult choices. Start by looking for areas of waste or inefficiency and try to plug those leaks. If need be, you may have to lay off or furlough some staff. Don’t cut yourself off at the knees by doing away with essentials, but you may have to go back to bare bones for the time being.
Finally, whether you’re seeking new revenue streams or trying to survive on existing ones, your guiding principle in making tough choices should always be the long view. Start with the assumption that your law firm will survive this temporary crisis—and despite how it feels, it is temporary. Don’t panic—be responsive, not reactive. You don’t want to make choices to help you survive the present that could ultimately cost you your future.