Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

One form can keep your practice working -- even if you can’t

You are your practice. You may have staff or other assistance, but your knowledge is indispensable to keeping your practice running. You know what needs to be done, where information is located, how things work -- the vital elements of running your practice. If you were temporarily unable to work due to disability, natural disaster, extreme travel delays or other challenges would your practice survive? Would your clients get the service they deserve? One form can ensure your practice keeps working, even if you can't.  

Wells H. Anderson ([e-mail info]), a consultant to law firms and operator of Active Online, a secure backup service for attorneys, created this fillable .pdf form to help you record key information to keep your practice running. His article on incorporating the form into your practice, "How a Key Technology Information Form Can Save Your Practice," suggests collecting information including:

  • The passwords and login information for computers, your cell phone and web-based services;
  • Any information needed to access backup systems and restore data;
  • The locations of your electronic and paper files; and
  • Instructions on how to generate critical information such as a list of active cases, bills for outstanding work, records of accounts receivable and client contact information. If you have the ability, you might wish to record a video or screen shots of you generating this information.

As you fill out the form, consider using the following practices to maximize its utility:

  • You needn't complete the entire form in one sitting. Just add information during your normal work day. As you log into a computer or website, record the password on the fillable .pdf.
  • Once the form is fully or partially completed, store it in a very secure location in your office. If you keep backup, paper copies of vital information, like this form, take them offsite to protect against a disaster in your office.
  • You should also share the form with your backup attorney, trusted colleagues or a responsible family member.
  • If you encrypt the form you need to share the password with whomever will use the form and tell him or her the location of the electronic file.
  • Revisit this form occasionally. Have you changed passwords, implemented a new two factor authentication process, purchased a new phone or signed up for a new service? You also want to confirm that contact information is correct and that your backup attorney or other responsible persons are still willing to assist you.

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf (@ScottMalouf), Law Office Management Assistance Program (@MassLOMAP).

Published August 23, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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