What tools can your small or mid-size law firm use to operate efficiently during the COVID-19 crisis?
The COVID-19 crisis has made working from home a necessity for many attorneys. While solo practitioners may not have an issue going into their own office, and while large firms have the financial resources to do whatever it takes to keep their attorneys billing hour after hour, small and mid-size law firms are in many respects facing some of the greatest challenges as a result of the pandemic. Yet, many are continuing to thrive – and even grow – during the crisis, and they have been able to do so while their attorneys are working from home.
Law firms face unique burdens when it comes to confidentiality and data security. While “Zoombombing” can be embarrassing for schools and small businesses, it can present major ethics and liability risks for small and mid-size law firms. Yet, law firms and even courts are using Zoom successfully, and there are a multitude of other remote working resources available to small and mid-size law firms during the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
Here are five resources to consider.
1. Video Conferencing Apps
While Zoom managed to hit the market at just the right time, there are numerous other video conferencing apps available as well. The price points and features are largely comparable, although there are certainly differentiators out there for firms that have specific requirements.
2. Cloud Storage and Remote File Sharing
At this point, most small and mid-size law firms have their data stored in the cloud. For those that do not (and for those that are currently relying on old and outdated platforms), here too, there is no shortage of options available. Many cloud storage providers offer integrations with law firm management software applications, and many offer per-user licensing fees that are attractive to small and mid-size firms.
3. Bar Resources
From tools and tips for remote working to mental health resources for attorneys who are struggling during the COVID-19 crisis, state bar associations across the country are offering various resources to their members. Many bar associations have also developed continuing legal education (CLE) courses that pertain to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have not done so already, it is worth checking your state bar association’s website to see what offerings are available.
4. IT and Cybersecurity Consultants
If your firm needs to set up, expand or manage its remote working capabilities during the COVID-19 crisis, it will be worth looking into hiring an IT or cybersecurity consultant. When looking for vendors in this area, experience should be a primary consideration. Many new IT and cybersecurity consulting businesses have popped up during the crisis (including some that specifically market their services to law firms). But, when it comes to ensuring access to and protecting your clients’ data, you cannot be too careful, and you will want to know that the vendor you choose has the experience required to assist your firm effectively.
5. Attorneys and Clients
When evaluating remote working options and opportunities, your firm’s attorneys and clients can be key resources as well. What works for them, and what doesn’t? What are their preferences, and what suggestions can they offer? Since your attorneys and clients will face the direct day-to-day impacts of your firm’s decisions, it may be worth taking their opinions into account.
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