AUSTIN, Texas – Austin law firms need to work proactively to survive, thrive, and care for staff during Covid – on multiple fronts. Providing excellent legal services and customer service are just the beginning. A thoughtful and well-balanced approach can help firms sustain and grow their practice, even during the worst of times, by focusing on relationships, technology, key data points, and mental health.
Bollier Ciccone LLP office administrator, Christine Giles, was invited to be a panelist during B2 Management & Consulting’s virtual event “The Next Normal – Navigating To and Through 2021.” Local thought leaders discussed workplace safety, remote working, family matters, employee mental health, and succeeding as a business in a new environment. Christine, president-elect of the Austin Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, identified four key takeaways.
Relationships: always important, but now more than ever
If you haven’t already, build a network of trusted colleagues, business relationships, and research tools. When a crisis hits, you will inform each other on developing situations and collaborate on solutions. Share your experiences and knowledge and draw on associates’ evolving observations on a wide range of topics, including technology, safety processes, health insurance changes, and government relief such as the CARES Act. Engage your network and professional organizations locally and nationwide to hear their challenges and solutions.
IT: critical infrastructure
A great IT team is essential for seemingly simply operations. Responsive and creative problem solvers fix short term issues and plan strategically for the future. They proactively look for potential obstacles as circumstances change. For example, your private, secure server may work great when everyone is in the office, but not when staff needs remote access. Software and phone systems need to be equally flexible. We take all of this for granted when things are “normal.”
Which numbers matter most?
During these circumstances, change and uncertainty have been constant, so adaptation is ongoing. While the world around your business changes, keep a close eye on a limited number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and watch for trends. These might include cash on hand, cash forecast, asset-to-debt ratio, collections, staff production, and potential clients/consults/conversion to client. Marketing metrics may also be taken into account. For example, create a one-page sheet with approximately 10 key indicators and update it weekly.
Mental health and empathy
A law firm – or any business – must support staff members as they deal with emotional challenges at home and at work. They have unique stressors, care about their career, strive to be a productive teammate, and worry about their family. Brenda Barnes, Founder of B2 Management & Consulting, made the following impactful statement during the roundtable: “Employee depression during Covid is a major concern for most employers. Between 22 percent and 35 percent of U.S. employees often experience these symptoms of depression as they live through the pandemic, according to new research by the Society for Human Resource Management. The survey of 1,099 employees found that women, younger workers, and people living with at least one person who is a member of a vulnerable population—such as a health care worker or someone with a compromised immune system—were affected the most. Nearly two-thirds of respondents who said they felt like a failure lived with someone who is vulnerable.”
Bollier Ciccone LLP’s practice provides Family and Civil Law services. Family Law expertise includes high asset divorce, business and asset valuation, closely held business interests, relocation cases, contested child custody, parental alienation, characterization of property, and premarital agreements. The Civil Law team helps small, medium, and large businesses with a wide variety of legal matters including construction law, real estate law, and business services.
About Bollier Ciccone LLP
Since 1990, Bollier Ciccone LLP has earned the trust of thousands of clients and businesses throughout Austin and Central Texas by setting dependable expectations and delivering results. BC’s team provides premium, unmatched personalized services to clients seeking Austin’s best family and civil law attorneys. Learn more about the firm, including its community involvement, at BClawTX.com.