Business Resiliency Planning for Law Firms – Part 1: Why Business Resiliency Matters
It’s hard to believe that the pandemic has been with us for nearly 6 months – and will likely be around for months, or even years, to come. As a result of COVID-19 and its effects, some firms are busier than ever, while others are finding that business has slowed down.
No matter where your firm lies on that spectrum, it makes sense to plan for the future disruption, whether due to the pandemic or otherwise. Because, if nothing else, this pandemic has shown us that it never hurts to prepare for the unexpected. Part of preparing for uncertainty includes building business resiliency into your law firm.
What is business resiliency?
Business resilience ensures that your law firm is able to quickly pivot and adapt to unexpected disruptions, thus allowing it to continue to operate and represent your clients’ interests even in the face of uncertainty. A major part of resiliency planning includes assessing risks to your firm’s business in the event that different types of disruptions occur. Typical business disruptions faced include pandemics, natural disasters, power and utility outages, and cyberattacks.
Business resiliency is more than simply an emergency response plan. The end goal is to ensure that not only does your firm get up and running quickly, but that it is also able to operate smoothly and efficiently in the weeks and months following a disaster without skipping a beat. While this may seem like an overwhelming – or even impossible – task, it’s actually more attainable than you might think, especially if your law firm has a solid plan in place that includes the necessary technology.
Benefits of business resiliency planning
It takes time to come up with a business resiliency plan, but doing so pays off in the long run. Business disruptions can be costly, and resiliency planning can help to mitigate or even erase those expenses, if done well. So think of resiliency planning as a long term investment in your law firm.
There are a number of benefits to creating a business resiliency plan that prepares your firm for any eventuality. First, resiliency planning allows your firm to continuing operating in the midst of a disaster. If your firm has a plan in place, which necessarily includes an investment in remote working technologies, then your firm’s workforce will easily be able to access firm information from any location and rapidly shift to remote work.
Second, as I mentioned above, it helps to reduce financial risk. The more quickly your firm is able to get back on its feet after a disruption, the fewer unexpected costs will be incurred. This is where business disruption planning comes in. A well-thought-out business continuity plan will ensure that downtime is reduced or eliminated, thus mitigating your firm’s losses.
Another benefit is the preservation of your firm’s reputation in the legal marketplace. If your firm is struck by a disaster, such as a cyberattack or a fire, it will undoubtedly be in the public spotlight. The quicker your firm is able to get back to business as usual, the less likely it is that the disruption will affect your firm’s reputation. In fact, if your business continuity plan works without a hitch, the ability to get up and running immediately after suffering from a severe disruption may actually help to improve your firm’s standing by showing how resilient and flexible its lawyers are.
Finally, clients will benefit when your firm establishes a resiliency plan, since it ensures that everyone in your firm knows what to expect when disaster strikes, and includes an investment into remote working technologies. When your firm is operational in the wake of a disaster, and your clients are able to quickly connect with their attorneys and access case-related information despite the occurrence of a natural disaster or pandemic, they’ll undoubtedly have increased confidence in their lawyers and your firm.
Business resiliency planning is a necessity
In other words, business resiliency planning is not optional. Instead, it’s a key part of protecting your firm’s reputation and bottom line in both the short term and the long term. If your firm doesn’t yet have a plan in place, better late than never. Take advantage of any downtime during the current pandemic to create a business continuity plan that your firm can rely on if there’s a COVID-19 surge in your area or if another disaster strikes down the road.
Not sure where to start? Check back in the weeks to come for an entire series of blog posts on how to create an effective plan that builds resiliency into your firm. In the meantime, make sure to check out the video recording of last week’s webinar: “How to Safeguard Your Law Firm Against Future Disruption” for ideas on preparing your firm for the future, whatever it may bring.