What is your response to Covid-19? A Perspective from a Solo/Small Firm Practitioner
March 18 2020 | Committees
No one can deny that the pandemic we are experiencing is unprecedented. The slowdown in the economy will have serious effects on most of us. Each will have to navigate their economic path with restraint and common sense. Keep your ears open for the relief package that is soon to follow. Analyze the benefits of availing yourself of whatever loans and grants that may become available in the coming weeks. Rework that budget you have for your family and your office. If you don’t have one, now is the time to assess your financial position. Write down a budget.
However, what I would like to discuss more fully here is the slowdown of your routine as an attorney. Most of us, more likely than not, have familial obligations of one sort or another. As we get our new routines in place, we may find that we have more time than ever to handle some neglected areas of our practice.
With children not going to school, and many offices closing or instituting work from home policies, you have more control over how you spend your day-to-day activities than ever.
In a spirit of solidarity, I will share with you how one solo practitioner is handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Scanning, uploading and, shredding closed paper files. If you or your office has not already gone paperless, now is a good time to enact a plan to go paperless. Scanners and software to enact a plane of this nature are surprisingly affordable. My Mitsubishi scanner was under $500.00, and I use www.mycase.com software to store electronic files. These files are attached to cases, which are then available to my clients through the mycase portal. I cannot say enough about how much the mycase software has made my practice affordable and portable. Anywhere I have access to a computer, I can access my client’s files, communications, and billing.
- Addressing the needs of current clients with existing files. My goal is to confer in the next two weeks, with each client who has a pending matter. Even if I do not have any definite answers for them, reassuring them that I am on top of matters, I believe, will go a long way in ultimate client satisfaction.
- Reviewing and instituting a marketing plan. How do I want to continue to attract and gain more clients? Assessing a marketing budget and what has worked well in the past is where I will start. Is it a good time to send a message to my past clients, reminding them of the types of cases I handle? Using mycase, I can send out a global message to all past and present clients.
- Polishing off those pleadings that need a little more research. I plan to educate myself on areas of the law that I have an interest in. Areas that require you to study them and digest them to give your clients the best advice.
- Taking care of my family, friends, and neighbors. Since we have all made at least one huge pot of red beans in the last week, pack some up for an elderly neighbor. I called my neighbor and asked her if she would like some and then let her know that I would leave it at her door. I wanted to be considerate of the fact that she might not want to be in contact with people right now. Small gestures are important. They bring what is essential into focus so that you can carry on and keep calm.
- Reflect on how you made it through Katrina. We are a unique city with a history of resilience. If we can make it through Katrina, we can make it through Covid-19.
Having shared my thoughts, I now invite you to share how you are planning on spending any extra downtime as the pandemic moves through its stages.
About the Author
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Ribando Law Firm, LLC
3000 Kingman Street, Suite 204
Metairie, Louisiana 70006