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Posts published in “Recordkeeping”

Don’t Blink: It’s Time to Prepare!

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If a natural disaster, freak accident, or unexpected illness were to happen, would you and your office be prepared?

Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Natural Disasters,  Freak Accidents, Unexpected Situations - OH MY!

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:

  1. Determine your risk. Secure an insurance check up.
  2. Develop an evacuation plan.
  3. Put together a disaster supply kit.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Review resources like Ready.govthe National Weather Servicethe National Hurricane Center and South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
  8. Download your copy of the South Carolina Hurricane Guide or pick up a copy at any S.C. Welcome Center, Walgreens or coastal DMV offices.
  9. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program’s Disaster and Emergency Preparedness web page
  10. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program's Lawyers in Transition in a Variety of Situations for resources on how to prepare for freak accidents, unexpected illnesses, or death of a lawyer).
  11. Request a copy of PREPARE, a free booklet, from the South Carolina Bar's Practice Management Assistance program.
  12. Remind your colleagues to do the same. It's great to be a good neighbor and lawyer who cares!

Remember, it only takes one event or unexpected situation to change your life and community forever.

Don't Blink: be prepared! Contact pmap@scbar.org if we can help.

End Year Organization

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It is hard to believe that there are less than 16 days till the end of 2015! With the year-end fast approaching, many lawyers are organizing records for the tax season and establishing goals for their firm for the new year. Take the time to consider these nine vital numbers for your law firm’s health appearing in the blog Attorney at Work as you assess your firm’s accomplishments, improvements, and goals for 2016.  In addition, check out this great report about Year End Closeout written by Lexis Nexis and these Six Steps for Better Tax Organization from Small Biz Accountants. Questions regarding your practice? E-mail pmap@scbar.org.

Image Source From Pexels – All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. www.pexels.com

Identity Theft

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Nearly 13 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014. The IRS has a helpful website for taxpayers to assist in preventing, identifying, reporting and dealing with the aftermath of identity theft. Since many law firms end their fiscal years in November or December, this information is timely and important. Go to the IRS webpage on Identity Protection. You can also go to IRS.gov and search for “identity protection.” PMAP is a free hotline for lawyers needing practice help. E-mail pmap@scbar.org or call (803) 799-6653, ext. 183.

Draft Better Bills

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Lawyers enjoy practicing law, but rarely do you find a lawyer who enjoys billing for his or her work. There are steps you can take to draft bills that clients are more likely to pay. Put a date on your billing statement and a due date for when payment must be made. Without a due date, your bill will end up at the bottom of your client’s stack. Make sure you include entries that were done at “no charge.” Clients appreciate when this is pointed out. For more billing tips, read Billing Pointers That Can Improve Your Cash Flow.