Ask the Risk Pro: Battling Zoom Gloom and Finding New Clients

Which state has the fewest lawyers? The Risk Pro knows.

Most law firms say they’ve been able to shift to remote work without missing a beat, and many are surprised at how seamless the transition has been.

The big question: will it continue after COVID has passed?

Seventy-seven (77) percent of firms say they’ve been “highly successful” at going remote, according to this Loeb Leadership survey. And a whopping 98 percent report at least “moderate success” at doing so.

As for employees, two-thirds say they’d like to continue working remotely post-COVID, even if only a day or so a week. And it appears increasingly likely they’ll get their wish.

“It is hard to put the genie back in the bottle if you have been running a business successfully for two to three months with every staff member out of the office,” says one Big Law partner in this ABA Journal article.

For firms, the key driver is the bottom line, as they eye huge savings in office rent, overhead and furnishings. Another factor: recruiting top talent.

“Employees are going to want to go to law firms that allow them to work from home a day a week or two days a week,” says one expert in the ABA Journal piece.

Other survey findings:

  • One-third of law firm employees are worried about losing their job.
  • 85 percent say they’re just as productive working from home.
  • 92 percent believe they can meet their clients’ expectations without being in the office.
  • Only 36 percent of partners have a “clear understanding” of how their offices will look in the future.

What about your firm? Have you gone remote either partially or fully? Will it be permanent?

Dear Risk Pro: For Zoom meetings, what type of background is better: a bookshelf or a brick wall? Zooming in Kalamazoo MI
Dear Zooming: Neither. Bookshelves have become the go-to background, but they can be visibly distracting. You want people paying attention to you, not your fascinating tomes, trinkets and tchotchkes. Standing before a brick wall will make you appear to be in solitary confinement. Go with a plain, blank wall or one with a single piece of art instead. To avoid the dreaded “shady face,” make sure there’s no window or light source behind you. And remember to mute! For more tips, here are 8 Pro Pointers for Looking Good on Zoom.

Dear Risk Pro: My law partner accused me of acting like a flamingo. How should I respond? Wading in Wisconsin
Dear Wading: By putting your foot down.

Dear Risk Pro: In my solo firm, traffic law cases have plummeted because of fewer cars on the road. For a while I’ve considered beefing up my family law practice. But with the future so uncertain, is now a good time to think about expanding? Light Traffic in Lexington IL
Dear Light Traffic: Actually, now may be the perfect time. In fact, six out of 10 law firms say they’re either thinking about adding a new practice area or they’ve already done so, according to this Martindale-Avvo survey. Some are acting out of necessity. Others are responding to shifting client needs. Hot areas include bankruptcy, consumer law, trusts and estates, disability, healthcare, insurance law, contracts, workers comp and employment law. Just make sure you’re competent in family law and that you have adequate systems and procedures to handle the new matters.

Dear Risk Pro: Which state has the most lawyers, and which has the fewest? Stats Freak in San Antonio TX
Dear Stats: New York has the most (184,662) and North Dakota has the fewest (1,697), according to the latest figures from the ABA. The District of Columbia (27,793) has the highest density, with approximately 40 lawyers for every 1,000 residents, followed by New York (9.5 per 1,000), Maryland (6.7 per 1,000) and Massachusetts (6.2 per 1,000). The states with the lowest number of lawyers per capita are Arkansas, Arizona and South Carolina (all at approximately 2.1 lawyers per 1,000 residents), followed by Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota (2.2 per 1,000). Nationwide, there were 1,328,692 licensed lawyers as of January 2020. That’s down 0.7 percent from 2019 (1,352,027) and was the largest decline in the last 100 years.

Risk Pro List of Things You Really Should Know (or not)
Top 10 Reasons for Leaving Work Early

  1. Children
  2. Illness
  3. Home emergency
  4. Birthday, anniversary or other special occasion
  5. Personal issues
  6. Driving someone to airport
  7. Special delivery at home
  8. Death of relative
  9. Guests arriving at home
  10. Dentist appointment
    (Source: Top 10 Zen)

Got a question about how to keep your law practice safe, successful and soaring? Ask the Risk Pro – your personal, on-call practice management consultant if you’re insured through Alta Pro Insurance Services. Contact the Risk Pro today.

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