This post looks at 7 common solutions being offered to attorneys and firms in the age of COVID-19.
Solution #1 Provide Excellent Client Services
Lawyers must recognize that worries normally felt by legal clients may be exacerbated during this time by added anxieties brought on by COVID-19. Calm these worries by providing each and every client with excellent service.
Ironically, the pandemic has created an environment where it is more important than ever to connect with clients. Lawyers should make the effort to reach out and check on their clients with a telephone call. Hearing from their attorneys will reassure them that their legal needs are still being met. It will also make them feel valued, which leads to product loyalty, positive reviews, and repeat business.
Excellent client service also means maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism. Remote working environments may create a bit of informality as pets interrupt video calls or legal talk turns to the personal challenges of the pandemic. While attorneys should demonstrate compassion and empathy for their clients, advisers advise against letting clients get too comfortable.
The practice of law is still a highly regarded career. In the age of COVID-attorneys must find a balance between compassion and professionalism.
Solution #2 Don’t Ignore Business Development
As attorneys turn their attention to staying afloat, they may ignore strategies for business development, but legal advisors advise that this is a dire mistake. Even in the midst of a pandemic, law practices need to keep growth and profitability at the forefront.
Some of these advisors suggest spending at least four hours each week on business development strategies. Before COVID, that would have looked like community gatherings, association meetings, or clients get-togethers. Now, in the age of social distancing, rainmaking may look more like zoom meetings, Facebook groups, and virtual network building.
Solution #3 Ramp Up Marketing Efforts
An essential part of business development is marketing and getting your firm name in front of potential clients. Unfortunately, the financial challenges of the pandemic may lessen the number of new legal matters. As such, law firms of all sizes will find themselves competing for a smaller pool of new clients, which makes effective marketing vitally important.
Legal advisers recommend that law firms review their online presence, making sure that websites are up-to-date, educational, and easy to utilize with features such as:
- Informative FAQs
- Case histories
- COVID updates
- Smartphone accessibility
- Up-to-date blogs
Solution #4 – Be Careful with COVID-19 Advice
Legal advisors warn law firms and attorneys about providing clients with improper or inadequate COVID-19 related advice. They state that, in an environment where the executive and court orders are changing rapidly and constantly undergoing judicial review, lawyers may unintentionally offer advice that does not stand up to legal examination down the line.
The consequences of these actions may not be felt for months, but even the most well-intentioned attorneys can find themselves embroiled in a malpractice suit over erroneous COVID-19 advice. Advisers say that the solution to this problem is an organized effort to track developments and coordinate firm responses to client inquiries.
Solution #5 – Be Careful with Practice Area Changes
As some practice areas feel the negative effects of the pandemic, lawyers may turn to more profitable areas of the law to sustain their practices. While this can be a successful strategy for staying viable, it can also lead to problems if lawyers try to practice in areas where they lack adequate knowledge and skill.
For example, a domestic relations lawyer who experiences a dip in business may decide to take on employment law or bankruptcy matters in an effort to bring in more revenue. Without the necessary knowledge to handle these cases adequately, this lawyer could be headed into dangerous waters.
Solution #6 – Provide Adequate Supervision
In the age of remote work, it can be challenging for firm leaders to adequately supervise every member of the firm, but COVID-19 does not excuse firms from their ethical duties relating to the supervision of attorneys and support staff. While in a face-to-face environment, that may have meant looking over shoulders or holding office meetings, firm leaders now have to find ways to supervise their employees in a virtual setting.
Communication is the key to establishing and maintaining appropriate supervision. Regular videoconferences with supervisors can be effective, as mobile communication tools that promote timely questions and quick responses.
Solution #6 – Meet Deadlines
Court closings and stay-at-home orders can wreak havoc on a lawyer’s calendar, but advisers say that it is as important as ever for lawyers to meet deadlines and ensure that their calendars are up-to-date.
The onset of COVID-19 has seen many courts extending deadlines and statute of limitations. While these measures provide some assistance for lawyers during these unprecedented times, lawyers must be extra careful to keep up with the changes and continuously meet deadlines.
Legal advisors suggest that firm members keep informed about each relevant jurisdiction where they have active matters to ensure compliance with local rules. They should also make certain to keep up with the firm’s calendaring system to avoid missing deadlines.
Solution #7 – Practice Selfcare
Clients are not the only ones facing the anxieties of COVID-19. The stresses of isolation, business disruption, and family issues can lead to mental health concerns for attorneys. It is no secret that depression and anxiety run high within the legal profession, so many advisors strongly suggest that legal professionals practice self-care during this pandemic.
For attorneys facing mental or emotional difficulties, the American Bar Association website provides a list of mental health resources.
Advice for Lawyers in the Midst of COVID-19
From business development to self-care, legal experts advise lawyers to handle their business and protect themselves from the potential downfalls of the pandemic. By implementing these tips and suggestions, lawyers and law firms can find viable solutions to the challenges they currently face in the age of COVID-19.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.