Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster

September 26, 2017

Westlaw helping hands: huricane isaacFirst of all, we want our customers who have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria to know that our thoughts are with you as you move from rescue into recovery. We look forward to the time when you are ready to get back on your feet, and you can look to us for help.

We’ve been hearing from customers all over who have given serious thought about what they would do in a similar situation. Every year, natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires catch a subset of our customers off-guard, and for some the impact is enough to keep them from re-opening their doors. Our hope, not only for law firms impacted by these hurricanes, but also for firms everywhere else, is that they have prepared a Disaster Plan to address at least these three major issues that can result from a natural disaster.

  1. Employees’ homes and your business may have been damaged or destroyed.
    There are critical steps that have to come before you can recover your business, so make it easier to assess your employees’ situation so you support them if they are caught up in a disaster situation. Can you provide employees with a flexible hours and mobile work options? Do they have the resources they need to access healthcare and emergency services? Your employees, your families, and you are your most important priorities.
  2. Your clients and other key people may be unable to reach you.
    Do you have what you need to be able to connect with key people immediately following the disaster? Make sure you always have instant access to key contact information. As soon as possible in an emergency, reach out to your employees, clients and other attorneys to check-in and to offer support or ask for help.
  3. Protect your business records.
    We know how crucial secure record-keeping is for a small law firm. If you don’t already have one, consider a cloud-based management tool. This allows simple and complete disaster recovery for your most important business records, while providing anytime, anywhere access to firm records, including key contacts, as well as work product.

Additionally, following a natural disaster, it’s important to recognize the many legal issues that may come into play for employers, businesses and individuals. Learn more about the numerous legal ramifications that may arise post-disaster on our podcast found here.

Although you can’t avoid natural disasters when they occur, proactive strategic planning may help make recovery and rebuilding your firm attainable and less overwhelming.

A final thought – and you can put this in your disaster recovery plan: Thomson Reuters Customer Service is available to assist customers who have been displaced or otherwise impacted, so please contact our Disaster Hotline as soon as you can at 1-800-554-8909, ext. 855588.

All the best,

Brian Knudsen

Vice President, Small Law Firms