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.