Some extreme events can disrupt the regular operations of a legal firm. Natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, power failures, earthquakes, arson, robbery, death of a critical law partner, pipe leaks, roof collapse, public unrest, and other unexpected problems can destroy offices, records, or access roads, jeopardize relationships with major clients, or make travel to the law office impossible for employees. Having a Business Continuity Plan for North Carolina Law Firms can prevent significant loss of revenues and clients due to prolonged disruption of law office operations.
Valuable lessons have been learned from a long history of previous events that have disrupted communities and their businesses, schools, governments and professional services. Thousands of catastrophic tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, snow and ice events, power outages, and other events have devastated regions of the United States from coast to coast.
Every year brings new risks of occurrences with the potential to suddenly disable your office operations. A continuity plan affords you and your legal support team the backup resources and resilience necessary to function in the worst of circumstances to serve the essential interests of your clients and your firm.
We’ve all seen the terrible images of losses and shock that these unthinkable disasters can cause for communities. Closest to home, hurricanes have disrupted North Carolina business communities and continue to impact our state’s economy.
From considering outcomes for unprepared businesses and professional offices, we’ve learned that taking the time to provide for basic emergency preparedness can minimize the risk of being unable to be available for your clients and prospects at a critical time.
Benefits of a Business Continuity Plan for a Law Firm
Creating an effective formal continuity plan for keeping a law firm running during a disaster can prevent prolonged disruption that can result in serious loss of revenue or even cause your law practice to lose a major client if the circumstance is not appropriately managed. The financial impact from the disruption of the normal flow of your operations can be minimized.
Having a realistic plan in place can help employees remain calm during the crisis, provide them with the necessary guidance in fulfilling their roles during the period of recovery following a disruptive event.
Not having a practical disaster plan in place can lead to extreme losses of revenues for a legal firm and potentially result in loss of valuable clients, if your firm is unavailable to provide them with services at a time when they need legal services.
What is Involved in Creating a Business Continuity Plan for a Law Firm?
A Business Continuity Plan documents your description of your law firm’s plan for continuing to perform your essential processes if a disaster occurs. The plan would include arrangements for determining the status of employees, office spaces, and information resources. It would also include steps for recovering necessary business processes, and procedures for returning to normal operations. The steps for creating a continuity plan include:
NOTE: Business Continuity Plans do not need to be uniform. You can tailor your plan to meet your firm’s unique needs, based on your geographic location, your building configuration, your city’s logistical factors, your office systems (paper, or digital, or mixed), and other planning elements specific to your firm’s physical components, operating processes, and involved people.
Meetings, Communications, Research, and Case Preparation
Law firm employees must have a way to communicate by phone and email, and they must have a place to meet and have access to information about contacts, clients’ cases, and other fundamentals to continue performing their work properly during the period while the office cannot be used.
A law firm’s Business Continuity Plan for a legal firm should provide designated temporary meeting and office space, remote access to research data backup files, public records access, and arrangements for alternative transportation.
Components of a Business Continuity Plan
There are various guides for creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). For example, the American Bar Association provides an online ABA guide for BCPs. The ABA guide includes standards set by the Department of Homeland Security, built around a framework of these fundamentals for a comprehensive continuity plan:
Pre-Event Disaster Preparedness for Law Offices
More Recommendations for attorneys preparing continuity plans to include:
Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Use the following checklist to help you identify areas that need work as you begin your program of emergency preparedness:
Parkway Tech, Winston Salem NC
We are a Law Firm Focused IT Company providing IT services in Charlotte NC and the surrounding area. For more information about Business Continuity Plans for law firms, you can search ” Business Continuity Planning Law Firms” or “Business Continuity Strategy Law Firms.” Or, contact Parkway Tech. To make an appointment to discusses Managed IT Services for SC law firms in Charlotte and Raleigh NC, call Parkway Tech at (336) 310-9888 to arrange to speak with an IT specialist about your firm’s unique IT needs.
Parkway Tech offers technology management, help desk services, and strategic IT consulting to law firms and legal practices across North Carolina.
We offer a completely customized technology support services for large and small law firms, law offices and law practices.