This month, our way of life dramatically changed as cases of COVID-19 have surged throughout the U.S. Schools are closed, bars and restaurants are shuttered, and stores are dark. While so many of society?s foundations have been upended, the public?s need for strong legal representation remains a constant and some local bar associations are even lobbying state governments to deem legal services essential.
As an attorney, how can you ensure you?re meeting your clients? needs right now? Here are five things to help you and your clients navigate this challenging time.
Get on board with technology ASAP: In the corporate world, videoconferencing is widely used to create and maintain relationships. For attorneys who are hesitant to try videoconferencing, limited face-to-face interaction may necessitate this tech adoption. Thankfully there are numerous videoconferencing platforms including FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom that attorneys can use to easily connect and communicate with clients.
Formulate and share your backup plan: In the event you are unable to work for an extended period or need to take time off, it?s important to establish a plan for how to manage client matters. As an attorney at a small or solo law firm, your emergency plan may be as simple as asking a colleague from law school to assist. Once you have a plan in place, share it with clients. Letting them know that you are prepared for the unexpected provides a sense of security that their issues will be handled appropriately and moved forward.
Articulate your payment options: As more states experience a sharp rise in the number of unemployment claims and Americans face financial uncertainty, many clients may have questions and concerns about how to pay for legal services. If you don?t already, make conversations around payment options part of your client intake process. Approach the topic with compassion and understanding, and make sure you clearly articulate the forms or means of payment you do and do not accept.
Reach out to former clients: In addition to addressing concerns related to servicing new clients, it?s a good idea to check in with former clients. As circumstances for many evolve, they may need additional legal guidance and your proactive approach will likely be appreciated.
Take care of yourself: Today, there?s a renewed focus on topics related to wellness. While the legal community hasn?t traditionally been exemplary at promoting the physical health and mental well-being of its members, current circumstances make this shift imperative. Keep in mind that you cannot take care of your clients? needs if you don?t first take care of your own. Make sure you are actively taking steps to manage stress and boost your immune system. Eating well, exercising, and getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night form the cornerstones of good health. Additionally, make a concerted effort to stay connected with family members, friends, and your community.
As a legal professional, your work is integral to a functioning society. Take steps now to ensure you have the capacity to provide the advice, answers and strong legal representation your clients need today, and in the months ahead.
As our country experiences disruptions caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Thomson Reuters will continue to provide the information and support your law firm needs to navigate this complicated and dynamic situation. Rely on these free COVID-19 resources, to help you prepare and respond.
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