What is the safest way to prepare my law firm for the future or another natural disaster?

CosmoLex Team

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Law Firm Future Preparation

2020 has been a year of crisis management. Between the coronavirus pandemic, wildfires, police brutality riots, and numerous large-scale natural disasters across the United States, law firms have had to contend with a lot of uncertainty. These events have raised the question of how to safely prepare for future disasters.

The first thing that a firm must have in place is a disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery plans should cover a range of incidents that impact how your firm functions, including, but not limited to, IT infrastructure, the physical offices, or employees’ ability to do their jobs[1].

Key elements of a good DRP include the following considerations[2]:

  • Assessing priorities for immediate action
  • Assigning roles responsibilities[3]
    • Who is authorized to execute a plan? Have a chain of command in place.
  • Data backup and a plan for accessing and restoring backups in the aftermath of a disaster. Your plan should be tested periodically.
    • Client lists, calendars, electronic documents
  • Inventory of assets
    • A list of all physical client and case records
    • A list of all office supplies, computers, equipment, and furniture used by the firm
    • Make sure to include a list of key vendors to use to obtain office supplies, computers, IT assistance, equipment, furniture
  • Communications plan that includes who to contact and what critical information to communicate:
    • Emergency contacts, including first responders, banking, and other key business contacts
    • FEMA and Red Cross contact information for government loans or other assistance
    • Insurance agent contacts to file business interruption claim as soon as possible
    • Employee contact information, as well as their emergency contacts
    • Communication plan for clients, the court, staff, lawyers, and vendors after a disaster
  • Work plan for employees
    • Plan for locating new office OR
    • Plan for remote work

The ABA, as well as most state and local bar associations, offer disaster recovery resources for attorneys, along with DRP templates[4].


References

1. After Disaster Strikes: A Checklist
2. A Primer On Disaster Recovery for Law Firms
3. A Law Firm’s Guide to Disaster Recovery
4. How to Create a Law Firm Disaster Recovery Plan