The coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak has been a rapidly evolving issue for
the economy, as businesses across the country have been temporarily
closing. Depending on location, some law firms are closing offices and
asking employees to work remotely. Some courts have closed, while
others have curtailed caseloads and services.
The Covid-19 Virus is Highly Unusual – How Will You
firms are taking a path of "sit back and wait for it to pass"
– is that you? Instead, you should consider a proactive client
communications program. Your clients want to know if your office will
be temporarily closed, how their matters will be handled, if there will
be any delays in work, etc. Anxious clients can make the situation more
difficult, so do all that you can to ease their concerns. In the
process, it is important to present a consistently positive image of
Guidelines to Consider
are some steps that The
Specialists in Law Firm Marketing suggest you consider
(but contact us or your marketing/PR consultant for tailored advice):
- Develop a task force -- Your task force
should consist of trusted, high-level management with the ability
and authority to make quick and effective decisions, implement
them, and communicate on behalf of the firm both internally and
externally. Maintain calm and collected thinking in the process.
- Identify key audiences -- Determine which of
your firm's contacts need to be informed of the situation, and in
what order (e.g., current clients, former clients, general public,
business contacts, vendors, etc.)
- Designate a spokesperson(s) -- Internally and
externally, it is typically best to designate one person to
address specific concerns. In cases when employees will handle
initial inquiries (e.g., clients, vendors and media), they should
be informed as to what details they can release. Any media calls
should go to the spokesperson.
- Be proactive in client
communications – Don't wait, especially given how quickly the
Covid-19 crisis is developing.
- Identify which mediums
are available to communicate your message -- Since people access
information in different ways (email ,social media, website visit,
web searches, phone calls, etc.), consider multiple methods to
communicate. Use a consistent message on each.
- Clearly and simply
communicate the message -- Decide what your messages will be — keep these
tight and consistent. FAQs are often a great way to communicate,
so identify common questions and develop concise answers. Too much
information can be overwhelming and actually may lead to further
- Avoid over-promising – It's good to be
optimistic with your preventive measures to ensure business
continuity and client service. Balance that with an acknowledgment
that this is an evolving health and economic crisis. Consider
communicating that your firm will continue to update clients about
the firm's capabilities and how you are protecting your workforce.
- Keep track of concerned
client requests -- If there are a large volume of inquiries,
or your firm is short-staffed, it's easy to lose track of a
specific request, so develop a system to follow-up with each.
- Develop a crisis
management plan – This will encompass issues beyond client
relations, such as internal communication, client service team
plans, travel restrictions, video conferencing, and scenario
planning (e.g., what if one or more of your lawyers or clients
Questions? This is
such a challenging environment and we want to help our clients as much
as possible. Feel free to contact The
Specialists in Law Firm Marketing to help your