When your law firm is confronted with an unexpected business interruption – Coronavirus pandemic, for example – how quickly were you able to react and pivot to the changes that came about almost without warning? Did your law firm confront the business disruption methodically, quickly and more importantly, successfully?
Was your firm able to mitigate any potential risk to staff and company data? What was the response of your entire team and your IT staff? Did your company’s business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan work the way you’d imagined it would? Did you lose billable hours and/or the trust of your staff or clients?
Having a BCDR or a crisis management plan in place would have made the changes brought about by COVID-19 easier to weather and continue to function.
The main element of a successful crisis management plan is in your understanding the potential impact a disaster could have on your business. A disaster could involve: fire, flood, hurricane, a pandemic, and more. Your BCDR needs to address all potential crises that could arise and threaten your law firm and its viability.
We know you can’t plan for every potential disaster that may strike, but having a baseline in place will certainly help you pivot and protect your firm.
Here are the steps you need to take to create your business plan
Assess the risk to your firm
- Talk with the team and evaluate all the company’s exposures and potential risks
- What is the potential impact of a business disruption on the firm. Assess them and prepare for them.
- Determine, and rank, the most likely scenarios that could threaten your firm. (If you’re not in a hurricane risk area, that should be lower than if you’re in Tornado Alley, for example)
- How will you communicate with key staff to effect the recovery and business continue operations
- What are the firm’s priorities to keep the doors open?
Perform a business impact analysis
- What are the objectives for your firm’s recovery?
- How long do you anticipate those objectives taking?
- What are the most crucial business processes that need to continue?
- What are the workflow objectives and expectations
- What internal teams need to rely upon one another to continue operations
- Who are your critical staff and key people and how well informed are they about their roles?
- What do you think will be the firm’s biggest pain point during a disaster? Staffing? Location? Cybersecurity?
Create your BCDR or crisis management plan
- Involve all key parties in the sign off of the business analysis impact findings
- Create a plan that is actionable and thorough
- Develop division, department and site level plans and involve key people
- Review the plan
- Finalize the plan and distribute it to key people.
- Consider having the plan in virtual form, in a place where all key people can reach it BUT also print the plan in case the internet cannot be reached.
Develop the plan and test it
Do a test of the plan as if the disaster were occurring. Monitor how effectively it, and key personnel, perform and react.
Preparing a BCDR and putting it on a shelf without testing it and testing it at least annually is a waste of your time and the law firm’s resources. Your crisis management plan needs to be reviewed and tested regularly.
Don’t just talk about it. Also, don’t tell yourself that it’s too late to create a crisis management plan – it’s not.
Assess how successfully your law firm reacted to the work from home orders or to the reduced amount of staff who can be in the office. Did your client communications suffer? Did your staff know what was expected of them? Did you have the equipment and did your staff have the training necessary to work from home?
How secure was your data during this time of crisis?
WareGeeks Solutions is a Roselle, New Jersey-based complete IT consultant and solutions provider. We specialist in Data Protection, specifically Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (#BCDR). We work with medium and large law firms and in the healthcare industry. If you have IT or security questions contact Seth at WareGeeks Solutions. For information or a consultation, call (877) 653-7146, or email us at email@example.com. www.waregeeks.com