Managing your law firm in a pandemic is not going to be anything like managing your law firm when the world isn’t in crisis mode. You have to stand firm in some areas and be much more lenient in others. You have to keep a much closer eye on your financials and be a little more flexible with your employees. This isn’t the same rodeo that you’re used to.
But the one thing that stays true is that you cannot give up! Your clients and our economy need you. Even if courts being closed has put a damper on your incoming cases, you will be highly desired as soon as they open again. It’s important to immediately shift your firm’s management practices so that you can still be afloat when that time arises.
4 Areas Where Your Law Firm’s Management Should Shift in a Pandemic
The key to keeping your firm running through the current worldly events that have shut down so much of the country is to keep your clients, staff, and bank accounts happy.
Support Your Clients Through This Difficult Period
Your clients are your livelihood – without them you are nothing. Now is not the time to be hard on them or force contracts down their throats. Everyone is in a similar boat; we are all struggling in some way through this current period of trauma. It may not look the same for you as it does for your clients, but it is important to understand where they are coming from when they make requests or cop an attitude.
- Consider being lenient when upholding contract terms. If continuing to pay you will be detrimental to your client, you cannot expect that their experience will be good. You cannot expect that your working relationship will continue without a hitch. It may be in your law firm’s best long-term interest to let the clients go who are pushing back on their contracts. And honestly, do you want to be partially responsible for someone going hungry because you continued to charge them after they shared their situation with you? Save your sanity and your morals, and possibly elicit some rave reviews over your customer service, by letting them go.
- Offer payment deferments or discounts. If you need to keep cash flowing in, one of the best ways to do so is to offer discounts that keep you working and retain your clients through their financial hardships.
- Communicate with your clients. If things are changing in your law firm because of the pandemic, let your clients know! Whether that be a change of business hours, revision of policies, change in appointment types – keep your clients in the loop.
- Encourage your clients to communicate with you. Let them know you are here for them and that they are free to discuss any current concerns with you.
Support Your Employees – Don’t Leave Them in the Dark
If you are realizing that you need to let some or all of your employees go to financially survive the pandemic, let them know as soon as you know. Dragging your feet and waiting until the last minute is just delaying them from getting the government support they can qualify for. Communication is key and relaying the complete truth to your staff is going to earn far more respect than leading them on and providing a false sense of hope.
If you do need to make some lay-offs, provide support to your staff through information. Inform them of the programs available to them in your state and assist them in filling out the forms they need. They are likely feeling a lot of the same stress that you are, so making this transition as easy as possible is going to help tremendously and prove your worth as an employer. You will need to staff up again when this is all said and done – don’t burn your bridges with the people who already know how you like to run your law firm.
However, if you are able to keep your employees on at their typical pay rate, please do so! Set your staff members up to work from home; show them that you prioritize their safety and stability. Not only will you be helping the people that you work closely with every day, but you will also be encouraging their loyalty to you.
Get Ahold of Your Financials
Right now is the perfect time to really take a look at your firm’s banking.
- What do you spend vs bring in?
- Is your income being affected by the Coronavirus pandemic?
- What services are completely unnecessary for your law firm right now?
- What services could you hire that would actually cut other costs?
- Do you need to apply for some loans to float you through the pandemic?
Support Your Vendors and Services
If you have planned ahead and have cash reserves, now is the time to use them to help you while also helping the vendors and services that your company uses! Many companies are offering discounts and major deals when you pay in advance for the services you’ll receive in the future. This is a win-win; not only are you getting a great deal but you are helping to support the vendors that your law firm depends on and ensuring they still stand when the current crisis is over.
As an example, Back Office Betties is currently offering our clients a huge savings if they pre-pay for future months on their current plan. This helps us to continue helping them!
If you don’t have the cash reserves, just do your best to keep on as normal. The vendors that serve you rely on their clients’ payments to keep their wheels spinning and many are hurting right now as their clients cut costs.
We hope this post proves useful to you and provides you with some much-needed optimism. Have questions or want to chat about how we can help? Give us a call at (800) 958-8591 or reach out on Facebook.