5 Crisis Tips For Law Firms (And Any Business) Before Hurricane Irene

For many years I’ve advised law firms on crisis communications. With Hurricane Irene taking aim at the East Coast of the United States this weekend, here are some suggestions for all law firms:

1–Make sure that every member of the law firm crisis communications team has a hard copy AND digital copy of the team’s home and cell numbers and personal email addresses (Gmail/Yahoo, etc.)  in the event your office loses power or worse.

2– Don’t have a crisis communications team? Appoint one TODAY before the storm! It should include the managing partner and include senior staff  from departments like information technology, human resources and marketing/PR, if applicable. Firms that have a public relations firm on retainer would be wise to include them here to advise on communications issues/challenges that could arise.

3– Make sure all office data is also stored in a secure cloud AND on a zip drive and CD/DVD. You should always have at least two backup copies of all data that is stored off site, according to tech guru Leo Laporte.

4– If the storm damages your office (s), make sure you have access to sufficient office space elsewhere to get through the initial aftermath. Hotel conference rooms are a good choice, particularly for solo and small firms.

5– Communicate with clients to assure them that you are “weathering the storm”, that their data is safe, and that attorneys/staff are still working on their matters, even if it’s from their homes for a few days. Use the homepage of your website — as well as Twitter and Facebook if possible — to communicate information such as any temporary relocation of staff, downed phone lines/website, etc.

New ABA President Seeks To Improve Funding of State Courts & Increase Diversity

Wm. T. (BillRobinson III, the new president of the American Bar Association, said at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto this past weekend that he will hold a press conference on the steps of every state capital in the United States to promote the need for increased funding of state courts.

Bill Robinson

“Our courts are inadequately funded,” he said in addressing the ABA’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division at an ABA breakfast session the day before his inauguration. He reiterated the ABA theme of “No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom” that will be the slogan behind the court funding campaign throughout his one-year term as ABA President that started this week.

Another key issue on his agenda is diversity, something his predecessors have increasingly focused on in recent years.  “This Association must set the standard (on diversity),” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of talent out there.”

Robinson is the member-in-charge of the Northern Kentucky offices of Frost Brown Todd LLC, a regional law firm with over 450 lawyers in nine offices located in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Indiana.

He is a past president of the Kentucky Bar Association, a past president of the Kentucky Bar Foundation and founding chair of Kentucky’s Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. He also served as board chair of the Kentucky and the Northern Kentucky Chambers of Commerce, and as board chair of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.