Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 34, No. 4, October 2013

Disaster Planning Means Firm Survival

By Ed Poll, Principal of LawBiz® Management

“Disaster” for a law firm is not a question of if, but rather when. The only unknowns are the type of disaster, when it will occur and how bad it will be. A catastrophic storm or a disease epidemic each qualifies as a disaster, but so too does a burst water pipe, a computer system meltdown or a data security breach to the unprepared. Any of them can mean a law firm’s demise. The goal of disaster planning is making a recovery that ensures the survival of the firm. If your firm views planning for disaster recovery as a luxury you can ill afford in a time of increasing cost and profitability pressure, think again. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates over 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster. Of the remaining companies, at least 25% will close within 2 years. Few if any of these companies have a disaster plan.

Defining the Disaster

Not every disruptive event is a disaster. Professional liability, malpractice claims, client relations problems and poor business judgment are all problems for the firm, but they are also part of everyday business. By contrast, any of these events constitutes a disaster – an unexpected event that could drive an unprepared firm out of business.

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