Whether or not your firm is partially paperless, or totally paperless, you need to be prepared for what to do if your power goes out, or even something worse. If you office is in shambles, can your law firm still function?

You need to have backups

For once, keeping paper files could leave you in better shape. If the power goes out, you still have your entire case file, right? Actually, probably not. What about that brief you were working on? What about all your emails? Unless you print out paper copies, you probably need to get online.

Even if you maintain paper copies, you have to back up whatever is on your computer. You can use an external hard drive, an online hard drive, or both. If a power surge hits your office, your main computer and your external drive may both bite the dust. Keeping physical backups as well as digital ones is the best way to go.

How much time do you need to get up and running?

Say you just keep an external drive for your backups, and it survives a fire or power surge. Do you have another computer you can use? How fast would you be able to access the information on that drive? Sure, we are talking worst case scenario, but you need to have some plan. Same thing with online storage, do you have another computer that syncs all the files?

Do clients know how to contact you?

The majority of client interact with clients in person, over the phone, and via email. Some attorney-client relationships, however, only use one of those methods. If your phone lines are inactive, do clients know how to contact you via email?

You do not need to prepare a disaster kit for your firm, but you need to be prepared in the event your firm is crippled from an unforeseen event.

Randall Ryder
Randall sues debt collectors that harass consumers, assists consumers with student loan issues, and defends consumers in debt collection lawsuits. He is also an attorney instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

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