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In It Together: Running a Law Practice From Another State

 
  • Technology used for remotely accessing your desktop
  • Client video conferences
  • The importance of having protocols in order to run your practice remotely
  • How to conduct virtual signings
  • Why marketing during and after this crisis is critical

Recorded: April 14, 2020
Interview: Michael Amoruso, Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP

Michael Amoruso, Amoruso and Amoruso and ElderCounsel Principal, New York, New York. 

Think through business of law (not just the practice of law). If the business is systemized, we can get through tough times. I have 5 employees, we are a small firm and, currently, we are all working remote. I’m not even in the same state. I’m running the business and working from South Carolina. We have a family getaway that we go to every spring break. We left on March 15, from New York. We saw the writing on the wall and made plans for a long term stay.

Before leaving, I made sure all staff had the same remote access that I have. This was before the stay at home order but I wanted to ensure their safety. The stay at home order went into effect one week later – in which lawyers were deemed non-essential in New York – so remote work became mandatory.

Some technologies being used are:

  • VPN (SonicWall)
  • Remote desktop through VPN
  • VOIP (Mitel)
  • Video Conferencing (Zoom)

Systematize

One thing that is important is to systematize your workflow. New York does have an executive order for remote witnessing and remote signings. If you are doing a signing and a change needs to be made, it can’t be made in a virtual setting in real time. So, we are very systematized. Every Tuesday, one person goes to the office, checks mail, makes deposits. Waiting for them are all of the documents that have been drafted and printed remotely. They add “sign here” tabs, add a form cover letter with instructions, and send the documents overnight. Clients should have them by Wednesday, if they don’t, they are re-sent for a Thursday delivery. 

On Friday, we do signings. The clients are scheduled, prepped, and ready. One of our people has done a test run with Zoom so that the client is tutored and ready. This helps us to work in a seamless fashion—you MUST stay on schedule or every subsequent client is delayed.

Additionally, the system of marketing is also important. Digital contact and keeping in contact with clients is key. Don’t just be silent! You’ve got to stay in front of clients using social media, an online presence, then weekly email. COVID updates with a positive approach and personalization have been effective. Explaining how the ever changing how COVID rules affect clients and their loved ones as well as providing resources is helpful. Video webcasts to explain these changes are also very effective.

Tips to New Remote Workers:

Embrace it. This will be a new norm. Digital and virtual signings will start to be codified in all states. 

Be flexible enough to make changes to your systems as weak links are found.

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