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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of December 6, 2016

Communication: Ready When You Need It

We all know that we live in a more treacherous world than we did previously. This means that disasters might happen that could affect the bottom line of your business. Such disasters include violent crime (e.g., workplace assault, hostage situation, bomb detonation, robbery) and cybercrime (e.g., hacking, employee sabotage, identity theft / phishing attacks). And when such disasters strike, communication is critical.

Gather all possible information on potential communication points (and keep it updated). These are the major items to assemble:

  • Firm personnel directory information. Include everyone’s cell phone and pager numbers, office and home phone numbers, vacation home numbers, and office and home e-mail addresses, with alternate emergency contacts whenever possible.
  • Personnel tracking procedure. Establish some method to track the whereabouts of firm personnel during normal business hours.
  • Pocket/wallet card information. Prepare laminated, wallet-sized cards with emergency instructions for contacts, including contact information.
  • Telephone tree. Set up an internal communications network in which firm members have preassigned responsibilities to contact each other and establish their condition and whereabouts.
  • Client list. Maintain an off-site list of current clients, matters, and contact information. Assign several people to contact clients to tell them what is happening.
  • Building information. Prepare a list of names and contact information for critical building personnel. Provide these people with the same information for key people on your emergency team.
  • Court/docketing information. Ensure that you have court telephone numbers and a current docket calendar available at an off-site location. Establish a referral contact with another firm that can handle such practice matters as requesting a continuance or rescheduling a deposition as needed.
  • Vendor list. Have hard copy and electronic lists of service provider contacts who can help reestablish your practice.
  • External help sources. This should include both local emergency personnel and contact numbers for national organizations such as the American Red Cross and FEMA.



Communication: Ready When You Need It

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