June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. However, now, is the perfect time to start thinking about other unexpected situations as well. What can you and your firm do to be prepared? Here are 12 important tips to help you:
Determine your risk. Secure an insurance check up.
Develop an emergency contact list of your office staff and of individuals/businesses/entities, etc. that you or your staff contact on a regular basis. Store in a safe location both onsite and offsite.
Strengthen your office. Make sure your office is in good repair of any physical issues or damages (examples: check trees, windows, doors, roofs, flooring, ceilings, etc. for any physical damages). Move filing systems to a higher location in the event of flooding. Create several backup systems in the event of physical or electronic file damage and do test restores to make sure they fully work. Always have a secured offsite backup in a safe location. Also, develop an inventory of all office contents.
Complete your disaster plan, go over with all employees in your firm (so they know what to do in the event of a disaster), and store a copy in a safe location onsite and offsite.
It seems no matter which way we look ransomware is one of the top news stories. Last week a new ransomware outbreak, known as “WanaCryptor”, “WeCry”, “WanaCrypt”, “WeCryptor” or “WannaCry”, emerged in Asia and Europe, with attacks spreading across 150 countries (including the United States).
Security experts warn users to be aware of phishing emails, phishing phone calls, and malicious email attachments or links. Businesses are most likely to be infected (including law firms); however, individual’s personal e-mail accounts may be targeted too.
At a minimum, write a letter to your paralegal or the attorney who would mind your office explaining to them what they would need to know if you were outside of service on a long vacation. Then, make an emergency plan should you become disabled, incapacitated or not able to act inside your practice again. Print the Preparation Checklist to plan accordingly. Fill out this form to add your successor(s) to the registry maintained by the Bar. Finally, use this Agreement to Close a Law Practice as a model agreement between you and your successor(s).
In recognition of National Small Business Week, check out a few of our favorite practice management and technology website resources to help you manage your small firm (or large firm):
Start a Practice – Are you planning to start a practice? Navigate these resources to find tools to help you develop a business plan, create a budget, decide on an entity and firm name, find the right location, get the proper licenses/insurance, market, prepare for emergencies, choose technology, plus much more!
Close a Practice – You’re thinking about winding down your practice…but you have no clue where to begin. Check out the PMA’s guide to close your office plus how to transition out of practice based on a variety of situations. We even have resources for succession planning!
Firm or Law Partner Changes – Things happen: Lawyers decide to leave in order to form new partnerships, go solo, or dissolve practices. Our lawyers in transition section will help you navigate through a variety of situations. If you cannot locate a particular situation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Build Your Practice – Whether you want to explore client development or learn how to build your business, our business development resources provide a variety of tips from a variety of marketing resources.
Prepare for the Worst – With Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off officially June 1st and manmade or natural disasters happening every day, it is important for law firms to create a disaster and emergency preparedness plan. Check out our Prepare page for tips and also request a free copy of our disaster handbook, if you do not one.
Technology Tips – Whether you are interested in learning more about technology or looking for a specific tech topic (software, security, consultants, etc.), our tech tips section will help you navigate through some of the most important decisions in managing your practice.
Legal Research (for South Carolina Bar members) – Looking to conduct research for a particular case or cases? Check out the South Carolina Bar’s free legal research member benefit Fastcase by logging into the Bar’s website. Our FAQ’s page will help show you how.
Resources– Can’t find a specific resource you’re looking for? Don’t forget the South Carolina Bar has over 160 resources available to active Bar members in good standing via the Lending Library. Also, check out the PMAP Videos Bank and the FAQ Bank for helpful tips and information.
Contact the Practice Management Assistance Program for further assistance in managing your law practice.