Business Continuity – Planning for your Law Firm’s Survival

Business Continuity – Planning for your Law Firm’s Survival

You can’t schedule emergencies, but you can prepare for them

Being prepared has two key aspects. For your business to survive a disaster, it’s key to know

  • How will you continue to work in the event of a disruption?
  • How will you restore normal operations once the interrupted services and facilities are re-established?

Does your firm have written procedures to restore your document management systems? Are your search index files backed up routinely? How much would a lost day of work cost your firm? Contact us, and we can help you define a road-map to get you from petrified to prepared.

First, a bonus joke: don’t let social media distract you from Disaster Response.  These excerpts are from the Surviving a Disaster Guide by the ABA’s Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness.

Levels of Disruption

Level One (1) (Minor Emergency): These are the least serious but most common types of business interruptions or failures, and include short-term electrical failures, blackouts, computer failures, air conditioning failures, information security threats, utility failures or an accident that severs a major power or communication line. …. lasts no more than 8 hours.

Level Two (2) (Major Emergency): At this level of disruption, emergencies are generally localized man-made or natural disasters, such as flooding, tornadoes, acts of terrorism or sabotage, and building/computer room fires or other events that make areas of the primary work site uninhabitable….. between 8 and 48 hours.

Level Three (3) (Disaster): At disruption level (3), there is an emergency which has prevented or which has the potential to prevent the capabilities of the firm to continue operations at its original office location, which has a severe impact on the firm’s operations, and will likely result in temporary inaccessibility to the facility.These kinds of disasters could be caused by widespread natural disasters, such as hurricanes, massive flooding, earthquakes, contamination, environmental hazards, serious acts of terrorism or other events that could lead to the firm being destroyed, damaged or left uninhabitable. This situation will most likely result in the activation of the Plan, and even relocation.

Vital Records Management

The Business Impact Analysis will assist you in identifying those records, information systems and data management systems necessary to support the essential functions. Among these vital records should be the Emergency Operating Records – those needed specifically for the continuation of essential processes (ex. docket, client’s files, order of succession and the Plan) – and the Rights and Interests Records – documents necessary to maintain the legal and financial rights of the firm and its personnel (ex. accounts receivable, insurance records and personnel files). These records may also include emergency information for important key external contacts, including the courts in which you litigate, and your clients. The latter will be particularly important if you are to continue, diligently, representing your client.

In order to protect these and other records that you may deem vital to the continued essential functions of your office, the following are suggested:… (via American Bar’s Guide Surviving a Disaster)

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