Strong communications between law firms and their clients are particularly important during this COVID-19 pandemic. As a business owner myself and a law firm marketing consultant, I thought it might be helpful to suggest some guidelines on how to build an effective coronavirus law firm marketing plan for communications.
#1. The “What,” “When,” and “How” of Law Firm Coronavirus Communications Plans
What: Start by reassuring clients that you remain open for business. Explain your emergency preparedness plans, including the extent to which attorneys are working from their business office or working from home. While many law firms have chosen to proactively push this information out to clients via an email newsletter, other law firms are simply posting news of their coronavirus plans on the “news” section of their website. Either approach is fine, depending on your preferences.
Make sure that your phone system is routing calls properly, and make sure that clients know who to contact in the event of an emergency. The contact can be the managing partner for small to mid-sized law firms, or the practice chair for larger firms.
When: Start now, if you haven’t done so already, to publish your emergency response plan. It appears that the nation’s COVID-19 response will extend certainly through the end of March, and possibly through April or beyond. Consider updating your emergency response plan as you have newsworthy updates to share with clients.
One way to decide the frequency and content of your messaging is to monitor client feedback, court conditions, and the changing situation in your state and local area.
How: E-newsletters are an ideal way to share news with clients and community members. If you don’t currently use an e-newsletter service, consider ConstantContact.com, MailChimp.com or other similar service providers. Remember to take advantage of social media outlets, especially LinkedIn, to share news on your LinkedIn company page. Of course, keep the “news” page on your website up-to-date.
#2 Share Notices of Court Closures
State and federal court closures across the country are having an immediate impact on the management of literally millions of files in process.
In Palm Beach County, Florida, for example, the Clerk of the Court posted the following notice on the court website as of March 19,
- All grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trials remain suspended until further order of the Court.
- Non-essential court proceedings will be suspended beginning March 18, 2020 through the end of business on May 1, 2020, unless the presiding judicial officer determines that the matter may be effectively conducted remotely with all parties using communication equipment.
The official website for the federal court system maintains a listing of orders issued by all U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Click on the link to access the list of Court Orders and Updates During COVID-19 Pandemic.
Keeping insurance carriers, insureds, and self-insured clients informed of the status of each case will be a high priority for insurance defense law firms.
#3. Address Cybersecurity Concerns
Cybersecurity is a big concern for insurance carriers, so insurance defense law firms will want to review their internal procedures for all aspects of cybersecurity and then reassure clients about your security protocols.
#4. Promote Your Law Firm Coronavirus Response Team
Law firms across the country have been moving quickly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing emergency response teams. See our related article titled, “Law Firm Coronavirus Response Centers,” to see what other law firms are doing.
There are also new business opportunities rapidly developing, as retailers, restaurant owners, property managers and others deal with unexpected legal issues. Employment law, premises liability, cybersecurity, and contract disputes are just a few of the many areas where corporations might need legal assistance.
#5. Have Back Up Plans if Attorneys Become Ill
A 57-year old partner at a New Jersey-based law firm died this week from complications related to COVID-19, according to Law.com. Tragically, other law firm members are at risk of illness and potentially death. Now is the time to address how your law firm will respond if and when a busy attorney, paralegal or billing clerk (or one of their family members) becomes ill and they are unable to perform their normal duties.
Failure to plan is planning to fail, as the saying goes. Now is the time for law firms to accelerate their coronavirus law firm marketing plan with clients, employees, and other stakeholders.
At Legal Expert Connections, Inc., the office lines are forwarded to my mobile phone, team members are seamlessly working remotely, and we are online as usual throughout the business day to respond to client needs.
Insurance Defense Marketing Consultant for Law Firms
If your insurance defense law firm is asking how you can improve your marketing communications and business development efforts, give us a call. We have helped more than 175 insurance defense law firms in 39 states pursue new client opportunities.
Legal Expert Connections, Inc. offers three key benefits to insurance defense law firms nationwide:
- We are the leading U.S. legal marketing agency specializing in the insurance defense market. We make it our business to identify who you need to contact at an insurance company, corporation or municipality to be considered as a panel counsel member. We accelerate your business development process by helping you focus on introducing your law firm to new prospective clients.
- You get a structured business development process. We guide your law firm through a proven three-step campaign that brings discipline, focus, and productivity to your marketing efforts.
- Increase revenue with professional, Bar-compliant legal marketing campaigns. We do the research to identify insurance panel managers, so you can focus your time on the business development process.
This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be interpreted as legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Every situation is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.