Here’s the Scenario

You’ve got one of the most important events of your career on Monday. A big trial or a billion-dollar closing or a negotiation—whatever fits your practice.

You’ve done the prep and all the materials are sitting on your desk. You’re on your way home for a relaxing weekend with your family and friends. You brought a few things home with you, just in case you get a few minutes to yourself, but the plan is to stop by your office on Monday morning, grab your stuff, and head out.


Unfortunately, your office just exploded. It’s a total loss. Everything is ashes. The only thing you will find when you rush back to your office tonight in a panic is a mangled red stapler. And, of course, your laptop hard drive, which has been clicking for days, dies when you try to wake it from sleep.

Work at home? Well, your house exploded while you were out. Along with your stapler you find some charred paisley socks you can’t even remember buying.

Here’s the thing. You can’t move your Monday appointment. It’s going forward with or without you. There are way too many moving parts to reschedule the hearing without massive prejudice to your client.

Your Homework

Sketch out your disaster recovery plan if something like this were to happen to you. Literally write it out on paper while you are sipping a drink at the cabin. How would you recover all the files you need to go forward as if nothing had happened?

If you already have a disaster recovery plan, use this scenario to test it. Without access to your office or your laptop,1 could you pull up all the materials you used at your last big trial or closing so you could prepare as usual?

Evaluate Your Systems

If you couldn’t recover in time, you need to work on your systems. Get your files and databases into the cloud so you can recover them. Make sure your backup is automatic so you don’t lose anything.

And above all, make sure you have a plan. If you can deal with an exploding office, you shouldn’t have any trouble the next time a file goes missing.

If you run into problems or if you need suggestions, ask for help in the companion discussion thread in the Lab.

  1. To simulate this, you could set up a new user account on your laptop. You won’t have to install all your software, but you won’t have access to any of your files and settings. 

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