In these unsettling times, many law firms have to make adjustments they never had to deal with before, in order to keep the business running, like having their staff work remotely and their clients being unavailable to show up for appointments.
On this episode, Grace and Liel have a conversation about how law firms can solve the challenge that many of them are facing for the first time, “remote working”
Grace and Liel talk about the importance of setting your law firm on the cloud to enable your team to work remotely and keep track of the law firm’s activities and they explore any other potential disruptions that may prevent you from running your business as usual.
From the challenges of dealing with other family members sharing your new working space with you, to the importance of reaching out to past clients to show your support and concern during this unsettling time, our conversation looks at how with some organization, adjustments, and creativity this could be a productive time for your law firm.
The resources mentioned on the episode:
Case management & CRM
CLE Online Courses
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Liel: [00:00:00] We’re facing a pandemic that is forcing us to rethink how we go about our regular working schedule and managing our businesses. One thing we know for sure is that we can mitigate the spread of Corona virus by practicing social distancing. But how we can do that and keep our law firms generating clients. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media, and this is In Camera Podcast where compassion and care move us forward.
Liel: [00:00:57] Welcome to In Camera Private Legal Marketing Conversations. Grace, thank you for being here today on a short notice to record what is an unplanned episode. First of all, how are you?
Grace: [00:01:09] I’m doing all right. A little crazy with everything going on. Which is partly why we’re doing this, right?
Liel: [00:01:15] Yes, Grace. So you’re right. These are difficult and challenging times. We are responding to a pandemic. Okay. Which was declared as such last Wednesday. And just on Friday, the government declared a national emergency. And the one thing we all have here in common is that we want to keep our families and communities safe, but we also need to keep our law friends running. And we have to have a conversation as to how are we going to do that under these circumstances.
Liel: [00:01:55] So, Grace, why don’t we start by? First of all, acknowledging why is it that we’ve decided to have this conversation, right? Because we already had something else lined up for today. We’ve recorded a really, really amazing episode with Nalini Prasad last week on Local SEO. And it’s actually a great episode. And I’m really looking forward to publishing it and sharing it with all of you. But at the same time, we feel that under the circumstances in which we are, it was really necessary to have a conversation as to how can we help our listeners and our audience to adjust during these times. What can we share from our own personal experience in terms of being able to efficiently work remotely and still keep an organized working day right? So that’s amongst the things that we’re gonna be talking about here. Grace, I know that you have been going through these adjustments in the law firm side of the business, and so why don’t you share with us a little bit as to how has been the experience and what are some of the things that you’ve encountered in the process of doing this?
Grace: [00:03:14] So, you know, as part of the law firm, we use a variety of cloud based information and products. Right. SaaS services and things like that. And so for us, it’s been not in terms of being difficult, right, to switch over, because a lot of our like I said our systems are all pretty much cloud based anyway, considering we are part of process communications as well. Right. So just about everything is cloud based. But this wasn’t something that was expected, I guess. Right. And you have to have a lot of considerations for the people that work from the office on a regular basis and may or may not have certain things at home already set up. And it’s also for those part timers and a couple of other considerations that I don’t think you think about until something like this happens rightly out. So we’re really just kind of going through it. And I know that we have sections in here to sort of help you guys out for what we’re going through right now. And it actually will combine a little bit of all of the messaging we’ve been providing in all of our previous podcasts. But in one place to help you with this kind of remote work, right?
Liel: [00:04:28] Yes. Grace. I think you’re right.
Liel: [00:04:30] A lot of what we would actually talk about in our previous episodes kind of was in a way advocating for a lot of the systems and and platforms that could actually be solutions to the circumstances that a lot of law firms are facing today. Right. When they have to make the tough decision of not necessarily opening the physical doors of our offices and taking operations remotely. And true that when we had actually talked about the benefits of having a CRM or a case management software that is cloud based, we did not necessarily think about the ability and the flexibility that that that it will give you in in times like these in order to be able to walk and take your operations remote. But the reality is that right now, that’s a necessity. And in it, it really comes to show the power of having that flexibility in that system already in place.
Liel: [00:05:34] So, Grace, if you were to ask me, here are the two definitely essential system that you need to ensure that your law firm has on a cloud based approach. Case management, for sure.
Grace: [00:05:51] Definitely
Liel: [00:05:53] Right?
Grace: [00:05:54] Yes
Liel: [00:05:55] You have to have access to these platforms from anywhere that you are in. And this is a good scenario of a time that having these platforms cloud based would allow you to continue running your business with as little interruptions as possible. Right. I mean, I cannot explain and I was actually meeting last week with a client who was just starting the transition of going from a system that they’ve been using for 10 years to a cloud based case management solution.
Liel: [00:06:36] And they weren’t they were telling me about the pain points of actually having to go through that process in the time that it will take to complete the migration and such. But the reality, Grace and I don’t even think that at the time that we were having the conversation last week this was not really that relevant.
Liel: [00:06:59] And I can only imagine how much they would have or they probably are wishing now to have made that call and that decision two or three or four weeks ago. Right. And so this is really a good wakeup call for those who have not yet taken that step.
Liel: [00:07:16] This is now more so than a commodity sensitivity. And it’s something that we need to have and we need to implement. And you really need to ask yourself. Right. This is not something that’s just necessarily going to be a one time thing. This could recur. And so the question is, are you going to be ready for when this happens next? And I guess these are probably one of the takeaways we’re going to have to come back to at the end of the episode. Get yourself on the cloud.
Liel: [00:07:49] What do you think Grace?
Grace: [00:07:51] Everything’s technology based, guys. And, you know, especially in today’s society, I mean, as it is, we all live through our mobile devices. Right. And including business. I mean, business has to be in the cloud and they’ve made it so much easier. And I know our previous podcasts, we’ve mentioned all the different ways and the different CRMs and case management software there are out there. And every one that we’ve mentioned is cloud based. And so they have cloud based capabilities if they aren’t already cloud based or primarily cloud based. So, yes, definitely. This is not something that’s one and done. It’s something that you should have been looking at a while back. And unfortunately, now it kind of forces the hand of those who didn’t look at this previous to this to to do it. Now, you know, whatever that now means.
Liel: [00:08:39] Absolutely. All right. So why don’t you. I mean, and we could also add this to our episode notes.
Liel: [00:08:46] Let’s give our listeners a few ideas as to what could be cloud based CRM system, case management systems for law firms. And again, In Camera Podcast is a podcast that is not sponsored or promoting particular businesses. We talk about law firm software and marketing solutions based out on their reputation. They have earned by their own merits. Right. So we’re not getting paid by no one here.
Grace: [00:09:22] No affiliate links. Nothing, guys. I mean, we we are CRM and case management software agnostic. We don’t get anything from anybody. This is just literally the actual use and or experience with these different systems. So I’ll go ahead and give you a couple of them, probably about five just off the top of my head, starting from the one that we use the Gacovino and Lake. And that is Smart Advocate. Smart Advocate has on premise and cloud based versions, even the on premise version can be made public facing. So if you don’t have it currently public facing, just speak to a smart advocate and they can assist you with making it public facing so that it is essentially cloud based. OK, so that’s one smart advocate. Again, the one we use. And then the others that I have right off the top of my head are Lead Docket. They are all cloud based completely. And we have a few people that I know for a fact use it and they love it. Then there is besides Lead Docket. There’s of course, a casePEER case peer is the P.I. practice one. That one is also cloud based. And you have a Filevine and that’s another one that I know of is is all cloud based completely, including the signing and all of that vine sign, I believe is the name of their doc sign type of product. And then what else? Well, I don’t think we can mention clear.
Liel: [00:10:51] I think we can definitely keep Captorra. There is there’s definitely some some big names out there. Yes.
Grace: [00:11:00] And Needles trial works just went cloud based, guys. So they didn’t. I just spoke to them at the last two shows and they they’ve gone cloud based. So you can if you have needles and you’re not cloud based yet, just make sure you speak to them and they will help you get moved to the cloud.
Liel: [00:11:18] So basically, Grace, so many different options, so many different solutions that meet so many different budgets as well. And the point is that here you have a list of different case management some of them even with CRM capabilities, solutions, softwares that could actually help you take your law firm to the cloud. So, yeah, definitely something to be looking at. If it’s not something you already have in place and there are two I forgot to mention.
Grace: [00:11:51] Sorry. Their intake software that integrates with your CRM that’s Captorra and Solidify. Just off again, I just want to make sure that I try to cover as many as I can think of.
Liel: [00:12:03] Perfect. Thank you so much, Grace and Grace.
Liel: [00:12:07] So the other thing that I mentioned that is super critical to have it cloud-based would be a telephone system right that you need to be able to open up your laptop or your desktop at home and connect to your low firm’s, telephone lines, be able to answer phone calls from there. And the same goes for your team. Right. So, Grace. Are there any well established solutions for law firms out there? They should be looking out in case you don’t have Internet based telephone lines that you can recommend.
Grace: [00:12:44] Yes, actually, I can. So, again, right off the top of my head, having dealt with this before, because, you know, as part of persist, we deal with phone lines and things. There are ring central. Ring central is great. They have a couple of communicating collaborating tools within Ring Central, including the app as well as Zoom, which is a conferencing tool that they include as part of. Generally speaking, include as part of your subscription with Ring Central. They’re like easy out of the box, easy to integrate and things like that, which is why I’m mentioning them first. Secondly, there is Microsoft teams, which actually creates a phone system, phone numbers. You can buy phone numbers and you can have everybody connected again via actual hard phones, via the app or via Microsoft teams on the desktop. And that’s another tool that can be collaborative as well. We’ll talk about specific collaborative tools when we get to that portion. But this is can be used as a phone system. Then there’s Google Voice for business, which is VoIP phone lines. You can spin it up online and they make it super easy to connect phone numbers and phone lines and also point them if you need to. Let me see. And then you think that’s all I can think of off the top of my head? Do you have any, Liel?
Liel: [00:14:09] I think Grace. These are actually great options. Yeah. I mean, you have things like Aircall and Toky that also allow you to create a VoIP based telephone system for your organization, allow different agents to login, have extensions, multiple telephone lines or just one single telephone line and then routing. So there are some kind of solutions out there. And the reality is that really there are no excuses why not to opt for one of these systems implemented, they are great the quality of the calls is fantastic. And on top of that, you get other advanced features such as recording transcripts and other things that would also help you with being able to better organize your operations.
Liel: [00:15:00] Grace, I think that’s amazing. Right now, I would like to add up a few things and a few tools that have helped us as an agency that we have a few members that are working permanently, remotely to be well-integrated into the operations and communicate with those everyday as if there were actually here present. So one of them is Slack. Okay, so Slack describes themselves as a virtual office communication tool. In reality, Grace, Slack is a platform that allows you to use messaging almost like whatsapp? Right. But to communicate with other team members and so you can do this on a one on one basis or you can create groups and teams so that several key members can be part of one channel and be alerted whenever anything is being posted to that channel.
Liel: [00:15:56] The other great thing that it allows you to do is integrate with other platforms such as potentially your CRM or your telephone system or your chat system. It will send you notifications letting you know that there’s been some activities in these platforms. And so it really allows you to streamline communications in a way that you can be well-informed about what’s happening without having to be going backward and forwards all the times through these platforms. The other great, great thing that’s like those great is that it basically allows you to almost eliminate the need of emails for internal communications. Like there’s nothing more annoying than getting your inbox full of internal emails just with forewords and c.c.’s on email conversations.
Liel: [00:16:50] Slack really allows you to. Still being informed and still be part of conversations that you need to be aware of. Without cluttering your email, and so for that reason I really, really like using Slack a lot. And I think they have a free version, but I can tell you that their paid option is 100 percent worth it because it gives so much functionality that that’s something that can be that should be implemented now. Here’s the other thing about Slack. It just allows to keep your interactions with the members more personal and human, right. It’s almost like social media. And so particularly when you’re in these situations where you don’t have that personal interaction that you usually have with your team.
Liel: [00:17:39] Slack allows you to bring a little bit more of a human touch to your communications with your team. By the use of emojis, by the use of video conferencing on a one on one basis. And so it’s really a good way to just keep your workplace social. So that’s one of the things that I think Slack isgood at. The other platforms that I also think they’re good are Monday or Asana. These are a great project management tools. So they’ll allow you to follow and assign tasks to different team members and ensure that the deadlines are being met. There are notes being shared amongst the team members that are working on that particular project. Grace, as you’ve said it, you know, when you’re working remotely, you’re working from home having a tool like Zoom.
Liel: [00:18:39] It’s a great it’s a it’s a great way of having those Face-To-Face communications with your team when they need it. Right. I think slack goes very well for those very informal conversations. But Zoom, on the other hand, will allow you to still make those personal communications. Whatever is your weekly departmental meeting. Still personal and still have that engagement that you rely on when it comes down to communicating with your team. Microsoft Teams, I think you’ve explained it very well. It has so many capabilities. Grace and I thank you for sharing the way that you’ve guys been using it in.
Liel: [00:19:28] I think the last and the most important thing here, Grace, is that you need to make sure that before you are sending your staff home to work remotely on these platforms is do they actually have the right Internet connection to be able to use these platforms.
Liel: [00:19:47] And the reality is that most of these platforms, Grace, they do not require gigabyte connection to run efficiently, but it still is important that they actually have access to reliable Internet connection to do so. So a way that you can actually look at that from a business standpoint is if you’re actually giving your team members a company phone, you can include to that phone a hotspot feature that would allow them to connect to use it as an Internet connection at high speeds. Right. I mean, there is already 5G connections available widely in the US and that’s a good way to solving that situation.
Liel: [00:20:33] But the reality is that most people nowadays have reliable and good Internet connections at home. One other thing that it’s true, at least here in Texas, I know AT&T has removed the cap on data in also on speed for all home connections in order to support people who are working from home. So I assume that these same actions are being taken in different states. And that’s one of the nice things that you see that come out from corporate America. Right.
Liel: [00:21:03] That’s great, Liel. I didn’t know that. Yeah. That’s very helpful to people. You know that. Oh, yeah. They uncapped it because, you know, the throttling of the Internet as it can be an issue generally isn’t, but it can be for audio. What let’s call it audio latency. Right. Since that’s part of what we do. Right. The outbound dialing, um, persist. If you are on Wi-Fi, it it doesn’t normally cause an issue for people like you can’t see it if you’re streaming something because between your eye and the way it frames it on the screen, it kind of merges the flickers that you might normally see. But when it comes to audio and audio latency over Wi-Fi, it can cause an issue if it’s not a steady Internet connection. So I’m kind of glad to hear that they’ve kind of increased that because as part of. Moving, you know, because changing our remote people, part of it was to ask them, do you have access to the router directly or is it somewhere out of range where you can’t really plug in your computer to it? Because. Right. Most houses nowadays are all setup with Wi-Fi, which is generally sufficient.
Grace: [00:22:11] But if you’re trying to remote desktop into your works network, it can cause a little bit of an issue if you don’t have a hard line connection. So if you can there’s a way to do it, like you said, you can purchase a Verizon hot spot for them that they can plug right into their computer. And generally speaking, that would be more than enough, you know, even if it is Wi-Fi and not hard line connected. There’s also one other way that I’ve I found and I don’t know if a lot of people know about this Liel and tell me if you’ve heard of it. But there’s this device that you can actually buy at like Best Buy or Amazon. It’s about 50 bucks. And it turns your wireless excuse me. You hook it up to your router. And if it’s on the same circuit, meaning on the same plug as the plug of the router electrically, it can turn your wired wireless connection into a wired connection using a plug. Yeah. Have you heard of that?
Liel: [00:23:13] Yeah, they’ve been around for quite a while. Right.
Liel: [00:23:16] Mixed reviews on those. Some people have had good success using those. A lot of people do not. But you know, Grace, I mean, yes, it’s true. It’s not. I mean, sometimes troubleshooting the whole Internet connection thing, like it’s it’s it’s a thing that people minimize many times and say, come on. I mean, I just have Wi-Fi. It’s gonna be fine. And then come to realize that sometimes it’s not enough. Yeah, it’s really not enough. Yeah. So that could be something that could be tried. You know, Grace, I mean, you can go on Amazon and buy a 50 foot long. I’ve done that to Google and I know it’s messy. And I know you’re probably not going to like the looks of it, you know, all around your home. But again, it’s momentarily and it’s just something that will allow you to at least be able to work efficiently during these circumstances. Whether you should consider down the line.Maybe creating network reports in different bedrooms in your home where you needed or so that would be wonderful. Honestly, it’s not so hard to do nowadays, particularly new constructions kind of like are already taking that into its wiring planning. So definitely there’s better ways to go around it. But for the sake of efficiency and problem solving fast right now, just do whatever. It’s it’s easy, right? Do whatever. It’s easy.
Grace: [00:24:59] But I think it’s important to mention, as Liel said, Wi-Fi is more than enough in just about ninety nine percent of the cases. So I I actually happened to just come across the more extreme situations because we deal with phone systems as a whole. So for us, it’s slightly different in terms of our requirements. But exactly as Liel said, please don’t panic. Wi-Fi is more than enough in ninety nine percent of the cases.
Grace: [00:25:26] OK, so yes
Liel: [00:25:29] Absolutely. You were geeking out here a little bit, just a little on there on the Internet speeds and connections. However, I mean, here’s another solution, right? I mean, you know, the more the more devices that are connected to your Internet connection, the slower your connection May be. So try to control that a little bit as well. Right. Of course, it’s gonna be hard for you to get a great a great connection if at the same time, two different TVs are streaming Netflix movies. So if you don’t have a very fast Internet connection, then maybe just start off by setting up rules whenever you’re working, limit the usage of the internet in other devices. Not easy, but a necessity if really there is no other alternative.
Grace: [00:26:18] So Comcast’s Xfinity allows you to do that. You can log into the X Fi portal and it lets you throttle the amount of speed on each of the different devices in your home. And I believe I could be wrong. My sister has AT&T U-verse, so I think you can do the same thing. She has a smart home. So everything is hooked up to. Yeah, to Wi-Fi. So, you know, it kind of balances low balances, all the stuff across different devices. So there’s a lot more capabilities nowadays to be able to do what Liel is saying, if not, please just talk to your kids or whoever is in there and ask them to please reduce the amount of street gang that they’re doing and increase with that.
Liel: [00:27:03] You’ve just touched on probably a way bigger and more complex issues to solve than the speed of your Internet connection. Is that how do you deal with all their household members that are probably going to be in the same situation that you are? They’re also they also have been advised not to leave home. And so the reality is that you’re gonna have to create a space that you can work and still have other family members around. And so Grace. I mean, what can we do about that?
Grace: [00:27:41] So there’s a bunch of things that you can do, right. There are times that let’s say that you might have to work from home or if you’ve worked from home before, you understand the requirements involved in it. Right. Part of it is I think it’s in dealing with kids and other family members. You need to set up rules or regulations for yourself included on what is a regular workday. Right. And I don’t know what’s going on in your city or town right now, but in in Broward and Miami-Dade County, all the schools are closed for the next two weeks. So for us, besides there being a week of spring break coming up anyway, 10 year olds, you know, 6 year olds, everyone’s in the house. And what do they want to do if they don’t have to go to school? Is watch movies streamed it on the i-Pad, Do this, do that. Well, you need that bandwidth, right? So planet advance. I think the most important thing is let them know that you’re going to be home, but you’re not available all the time. You know, it’s not like you’re actually home and line up activities for them to reduce these interruptions that you’re going to start getting if you don’t have things planned out for them. It’s easier said than done. I get it. You know, like I said, I have a I have a twenty one year old at home and she’s out of college right now. And planning stuff for her to do is a little bit of a pain. So it’s everybody. It’s not just, you know, your whole family because she wants to be on their streaming video after video. Right. I mean, what about what else is she going to do?
Liel: [00:29:08] Yeah, I think Grace, I mean, as much as we would want here to be able to give you a one size fits all solution for this problem, I think it’s way more complex than just, you know, a few talking points on a podcast. The reality is that different households have different needs and different scenarios. I think the only thing that we can really comment on this is how you can do in order to to make sure that you are helping send out the message that although you’re gonna have to be home, you’re gonna have to spend some of the time at your home working and you are going to have to prioritize the things that are really important that needs to take place throughout the day and make sure that those are happening and potentially be less obsessive about the things that you cannot get done. But with that being said, it’s extremely important. But, you know, what are the important things that needs to be happening every day? And one of the things to know and to plan for that is to kind of like create yourself a mental list every day about what are those things for the next day. Right. There’s a great, great, great book about it. I just don’t remember the title of it right off the top of my head of I potentially going to be pulling it up and listing it on the episode notes. But I think the title of the book goes something around like plan tomorrow, today. And and it really goes very deep into explaining why is it that every day there’s probably one, two or three things that are really important and that have a meaningful impact in what we do and the rest is really not that meaningful and important. So it’s in these times more important than any more than any other time to make sure that we identify the things that really call for our attention and that need to happen and understand that or they’re not so important. Things can wait. Right. And so that’s if youre one of those persons that you actually have to solve your remote working situation, but you also have a family situation that you need to deal with, because, I mean, let’s face it, it’s it’s another you know, it’s it’s the other whole portion of this puzzle.
Grace: [00:31:50] Right. I think that’s the biggest part of it. Right. I mean, that’s part of the reason why a lot of times we go into work is that’s our part of a routine. And now this is switching up a huge part of everybody’s routine now that they have to shift to homework. Right. And homework. Right. Homework for the kids, too. So I think it’s important to tell people and give them a little tip that Liel actually found with regards to resources for call quality, screen time considerations and recommendations. And that’s a company called Common Sense Media. Right. And it’s a great resource both free and paid. It has educational and purely recreational stuff, including privacy tips like Duolingo for language learning. That’s free, by the way. It’s really cool app. There’s Tinker for Coding and Khan Academy, which I personally love to go on. By the way, it’s free for academic subjects to learn. Anything you want to learn helps you learn anything you want to brush up on. And then Epic is a subscription service with them. Bazillion books and comics for tablets and searchable by age. So you know, again, common sense media guys. And I think what would help is to give them some tips. Little on what to do, you know, how to treat this and how to act like if it’s a regular workday, right?
Liel: [00:33:12] Yeah, absolutely. Grace. So I am you know, first I’d like to empathize with a lot of the people that are actually going through these for the first time, grace, because for more than 10 years I worked luxury hotels and I say luxury because every single day during those 10 years I had to wear a suit, a tie. And that was the way my week. Like Five or six days out of seven. Right.
Liel: [00:33:44] And I was so geared to differentiating between my personal life and work because I’ve had to go through this routine of getting ready and prepared to go to work. And so the differentiator between how I was, how it was and where I was when I was working to, how I was when I was on my personal time was so big. It was very easy to mentally compartmentalize. But then after the first time that I had to face the fact that, well, I now work in the industry, that that gives me the flexibility from time to time not to have to be at the office. And so how do I go about it? Will grace the realities that at the beginning, like when I actually went in the first few months from that. Change. I’ve just set myself and I said, you know what? I know that in order to stay to stay centered and disciplined and focused in what the work part of the day is, I need to follow my routine. And so I was waking up and wearing that suit. I see if I was going to work out a five star hotel and in reality, I was working on an office in a co-working space and people were looking at me as if I was a weirdo. But the fact is that following that routine allowed me to settle into my new organization, into my new job, in a way that made it easy and efficient for me. And so with that being said, Grace, I would advise the same thing for people who are now going through that adjustment for the first time. If you’ve always, always, always, always liked, the routine of going to work means that you wake up, you get dressed, you wear dress shoes and you head to the office.Then do the same. Do the same. Head out, take a walk for for a share. They’re actually promoting and telling people despite encouraging social distancing, steal. Go outside, take air Be cautious. Don’t go to areas that have a lot of density and activity. But still take your time. Go, go. Maybe take your coffee with you. Have a walk for it’s going to help and then come back home and give yourself that experience of arriving to work. Even though you’re not getting to the actual office, you’re just getting back home. But you’re getting back home with a mindset that you’re starting your working day. What do you think, Grace? Does that make sense? Where am I crazy?
Grace: [00:36:24] No, completely agreed. I mean, for me, it’s it’s a matter of the routine, like you said. It’s exactly that. It’s get up, get out of bed. Do your normal routine of the shower, whatever you do in the morning. Have your coffee and then go out if you have to. Right. I think that that mentality of leaving the house and even if you literally just walk out the door, turn around and walk back in. You know, I think that that that will shift your your mindset, too. Okay. I’m up. I’m out now. I’m back. I’m here to do work. And for me, it’s worked very well. That as well, because that disconnect is really hard for me. A lot of times I want to sit in my bed and on my laptop, write and do my work. Don’t do that. You know, you go go to your kitchen table if you have to. You know, if you don’t have a separate room where you can set it up for an office or if you don’t have a separate space, like Liel said at the beginning, you know, then do it at your kitchen table. Do it at the the couch in a corner, you know? Even get a little pop up table if you have to, to put your laptop on it and put it in a corner that, you know, you know that that’s your workspace and let everybody know that’s your workspace.
Liel: [00:37:36] Yeah. And I mean, it’s it’s this is as easy, as you know, you you know, yourself find find a space that you wouldn’t go usually to relax. Right. And so that’s why you’re saying, like, don’t do it from a bed. That’s obviously not gonna be a good solution. Now, I will say, though, there are some people who are very, very, very few. They can make it work. Right. And so if you’re one of those and it’s proven and tested, then by all means, go ahead and do that. But for the majority of us, it’s not. And so for that reason, choose wisely, choose a space that you know, that you can actually get work done from there.
Liel: [00:38:15] It does not have to be an office. It does not have to be a different room with its own door. If you have those at your disposal, at your disposal, then absolutely amazing. But if not, don’t, don’t, don’t see it as a factor for not being able to create yourself a working space from home.
Liel: [00:38:38] So that’s definitely one one of those things. Now, Grace, as we as we said, right there is the family component and there may be people around you. I know a lot of us have probably at one point splurged on the noise cancelling headphones because I mean, let’s face it, who likes the buzz and the white noise that you’re constantly hearing on an airplane, particularly when you need to go on long haul flights?Grate
Liel: [00:39:05] Grate news ,from today you have now a new reason and a new way of using those headphones, using them to really reduce the background noise of your environment and be able to better focus at work. Now, there’s another advantage to using those headphones is that you can also use them to signal other family members that you’re not available and that you’re working right now. And that could also help you create that separation. So in case you. Those headphones, if you don’t have noise canceling headphones, well, you know what, in reality any other headphones may work as well, particularly if you’re one of those persons that like to have some music in the background while you work. Or maybe you’re one of those who listen to our podcast when they’re doing some of their work. So it’s a great time to to put headphones to use to your advantage. Right. Grace, how about the routine, the working day? Because you and I were just talking a moment ago when you told me that one of your biggest challenges when working from home is that the day becomes endless. How can we prevent being in that situation?
Grace: [00:40:18] So I think the best way is to establish a routine. Right. And that includes non-working hours for when you say I’m done. This is it. It’s over. And this is what I do during my routine non-working hours and try to stick to your office schedule that you normally would have. So if like you to let’s say you work Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. I say, you know, 9:00, you get your coffee and you start working immediately, you know, within 15 minutes. You get the day done. You take a break. Right. Let’s say you take a break normally at 10:30. Take your break like you normally would at 10:30. Take your lunch like you normally would at 12:00 or whine for an hour or whatever it is that you do. Stick to your regular office schedule, do your regular office things, and just put it in your mind that you’re at work right during that Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. So I think it’s just important to establish a routine, including when you’re going to disconnect from what you’re doing, stick to your office schedule, including breaks. And this includes the the American Academy of Ophthalmologists actually recommends something called 20-20-20 rule. So what they say is that every 20 minutes you should look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Why? Because you need to rest your eyes occasionally, right? Every day, all day long. We have this glare coming from our computer monitors, our screens. So they reckon they recognize this. And they also recommend the 20-20-20 again, remember, every 20 minutes, 20 feet away, focus your eyes for 20 seconds and don’t get distracted. This is kind of funny, little. I want you to jump in on this one, because I know that both of us were kind of laughing about this before. Don’t get distracted with chores. Guys, don’t use this opportunity to do your laundry from this. You.
Liel: [00:42:13] Grace, I was I was reading over the weekend a stat that was saying that actually home decor shops actually boost their sales during times like these because people are spending so much time at home.
Liel: [00:42:32] Now all from the sudden they’re starting to notice all of the imperfections on their homes. Right. And so amongst those things, you know, they may realize that their walls need a fresh coat of paint or that the kitchen table, in fact, is not as spacious as they thought it was. And so people start distracting themselves with planning a whole new home remodel rather than focusing on their work. Right. That’s the worst case scenario. But even even small things like trying to knock out the the the the mass pile of laundry, of dirty laundry that you have in your laundry room, in between calls or in between activities is gonna and can lead to a massive destruction. So, you know, be realistic. I mean, as I was telling you, Grace, I think there’s no problem at all. If you want to go out for a walk and take the trash out as one or as part of one of your breaks, if you want to go and check on the mailbox in, you know, if that’s one of the things that you’re doing in order to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. That’s perfectly fine. But, you know, be sensible about it. Understand what’s going to actually be something that you can that you can manage and what’s something that’s actually going to completely interfere with your with your activities. But, yeah, it’s it’s really funny that in another thing, Grace, it’s like how much people then see themselves spending time on things like trying to make their home look nice for videoconferences, because the reality is like all from the sudden, you’re giving access and a view of something very intimate as your home to other people that may have not been at and may have not had access to it before. And so I also read an article about how people go crazy about how are they going to go about finding the right spot and making sure their home looks nice and presentable during videoconferences. And so that’s another thing that has consumed a tremendous amount of time from people who work remotely.
Grace: [00:44:52] ASo Microsoft teams blurs the background for you, just so you know. And Zoom has a green screen function that you can add an image that will be the background. So, guys, don’t worry about that. That’s the last thing you have to worry about.
Liel: [00:45:10] Then you have to think, well, why does this person has the green screen on the background or why is it blurred? Is it that bad? Right. So, you know, there’s there’s a flip side to each coin. And so I don’t blame you. I just want you to know, I don’t blame you if you’re one of those persons that are spending a lot of time trying to make their background look nice. I understand. I do the same. And I totally empathize with you. So don’t don’t see it as a waste of time. It’s an investment. You’re going to feel much comfortable on your video conference calls and you’re gonna be able to better deliver and participate in those conferences.So it’s good use of time.
Liel: [00:45:51] Now, Grace, let’s let’s now, you know, you’ve tried it, all right? You followed all of these tips and you still cannot make it work. It could be either because you don’t have the cloud based platform to support you and to give you access to everything you need. Or you may have the cloud based platform, but then also rely on a bunch of other hard copy documents that are sitting on your desk and you don’t or can’t get them. OK, so how can we make use of this time? You’re sitting at home and you’re wondering like, why can I not just, you know, to be able to be productive? Correct. And what I think Grace is that, you know. There are a lot of things that are making it hard for you to work from home an things that you’d usually work in the office, right. But I’m sure that when you’re at the office, there are a lot of things that you would wish to be able to accomplish, but you can’t because you’re too focused on what you usually do at the office. And so maybe now it’s the time to focus on things that you usually cannot accomplish while on your regular work day at the office. Because. Your day is built in a way that does not allow you time to concentrate on other things. Grace, in other words, what I’m saying here is like this is the time to create that book, to start writing that book that you’ve been wanting to write for the past three years and you haven’t done so right. And if a book sounds overly ambitious, then the e-book or guide that you wanted it to create as to how to prepare for divorce or how to respond in case of a car accident. This is the time that you can actually work on those projects that you’ve thought you did not have the time to work on before. Grace, what other things can we be using this time for all kinds of content?
Grace: [00:48:04] I mean, like you said, this is the time to take those projects. If you can’t do your day to day, take those projects and start them and get them done. Blog, long-form blog posts. Right. I mean, even something as simple as that. Write a couple of them, you know, a thousand two thousand words can take time. So this is the time to use where you can build out your lifecycle marketing strategy. Build out. Did you. Is there a new something new you wanted to try like. Is this a new PPC campaign you wanted to look at? Is there a new Web site you want to do? Is there even a direct mail component to something you want to get printed and mailed out? Video marketing. I mean, video marketing takes time. Use this time for it. Right. And so. Yeah, and to me, this is the best time to catch up with your clients. Ask how they’re doing. Follow up with the review requests that you haven’t been able to follow up with. Make that personal interaction. This is the perfect time for those client conversations. Remind them you’re here. And again, that’s back to that lifecycle marketing campaign. If you haven’t created one, you don’t have one. Start it now. Get it done and have it ready to go so that by the time you get back, they remember who you are. They know where they are in whatever case. If they’ve had case ongoing right now, update your clients. I mean, there’s there’s quite a few things you can do, right? I mean, work on budgets, not just the marketing budget. Maybe there’s a financial budget and, you know, complete some online C.L.E credit courses. There are some online ones. Right. Especially with everything getting canceled right now. You don’t know when you’re going to be able to go physically complete your C.L.E courses that you need to read books that you’ve been wanting to read. And of course, and most important in my mind and possibly Liel’s, maybe not listen to the past and upcoming episodes on our podcast that are full of specific actionable insights that will help you grow your firm, right, Liel?
Liel: [00:50:06] Yes, absolutely, Grace.I think you actually gave so many valuable tips there that almost kind of like make me wish we did not spend that much time talking about different Internet connections and focused a little bit more on each one of these amazing ideas that you just came up with, Grace. But I just want to focus on one of them, which is that of reaching out to past clients, right, like during these times. Grace honestly, like, I just receive an email from the CEO of a Away the luggage, suitcases or whatever brand, which actually makes a lot of very nice things.
Liel: [00:50:48] And so, you know, while I don’t necessarily need to read that email, because how much do I care about, you know, what he has to say about this pandemic, these messages that I’m getting from different CEOs saying how they’re responding to the current times and how much do they care about their employees or communities and also their clients is just reassuring. And it sends a positive message and it creates a very positive atmosphere. And so imagine the impact that it would have if you are actually reaching out to past clients with whom you really had a personal connection right. I don’t have any personal connection with the CEO of Away yet. I value his words and thoughts in these times. Now imagine how much more I would value the message of someone who’s actually been a partner to me and to my family that would even be more more powerful. So this is a great time to show care and concern for your past clients. Ask them reach out and make sure that you show your support during these difficult times. Grace I think those and everything that you’ve mentioned, there is a great, great a great set of ideas of things that we could do to use. This available time that we have in our hands. C.L.E credits. Yes, absolutely. I mean, don’t assume that you’re going to get those sometime sometime in the spring or in the summer, because at this point we don’t know whether that conference that you were planning to attend together to gather those credits is going to be taking place.
Liel: [00:52:37] So let’s just get Hands-On and do now what we can. Grace, are you ready for takeaways? Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Great. All right. So take away number one, Grace. So it’s very simple. If this were to happen three months or six months from now, will you be able to roll out a contingency plan for your law firm and be good with it without having to go through the struggles that you’re potentially going now? If the answer is yes, I can do it, then great. But if your answer is no. It’s been challenging. And we’re going through a lot of difficulties in order to set up our team at our home so they can continue doing most of their work without interruptions. Then this is the time to work on getting yourself up to the cloud. Grace, what do you think?
Grace: [00:53:35] A hundred percent, right. I mean, if you’ve come encountering these roadblocks right now, this is essentially a disaster recovery plan, right? I mean, this is the company is not in in its disaster, but this is a global pandemic. So you need to have all of these in place and make sure that you’re recording all of it right. You need to be able to know what this is going to happen if if it happens again.
Liel: [00:53:59] Yes, Grace. And so if you’ve already taken care of that, then you’re in a good place. If not, we’ve given you here a bunch of resources that you can definitely research and reach out and start the process of implementing some of these software solutions.
Liel: [00:54:20] So you’re better prepared for whenever this happens next. Now Grace again. This is the time to come together as a community and definitely as a team. And you need to show your support to your clients. You need to be there for your team. You need to show leadership. And you need to understand how to prioritize what’s really necessary now and what can wait. Right. These are difficult times for everyone. And as we’ve just mentioned throughout the episode. Right. It’s very hard to talk about the complexity of these times and keep it only professional without actually seeing how their personal life overlap and the impact that that would have in the entire situation. So the same challenges and struggles that you’re having, your employees are having and your clients are having. And so this is a time to be there for them to empathize, for them to support for them and to show loyalty and commitment towards them. Because when times will be good, then you’ll have all their commitment and support and productivity levels will go up, right? If we expect too much from people that are limited in availability and resources. Right now, we’re potentially gonna create more damage to our businesses on the long run than the loss that the short term can represent. What do you think, Grace?
Grace: [00:55:50] Exactly. I mean, you know, I’m I’m sure most of these guys, if not all of them, are doing the same thing. But I know a Gacovino and Lake. It’s a big deal. Obviously, we have a lot of employees and our employees have to shift to home. And, you know, we’re fortunate we’re doing everything we can, including setting them up, making sure that if if we have the availability in this case, we do here in Fort Lauderdale. For those who have to move from the office to their house, we’re going to their house, their home with sending an I.T. vendor to their home to set them up, make sure that everything is connected the way it should be connected. If they don’t have enough Internet capability, we’re providing them with a hot spot and or paying for the upgraded Internet. So be there for your team, be there for your clients, be there for your prospects, even in letting them know, as Liel said it through a simple email or message, letting them know you’re here. You’re aware of what’s going on and that you’re here to have support everybody and be together. This is something that we all need to come together to help each other out with. And that’s the only way we’re gonna get out and through it.
Liel: [00:56:57] Absolutely. And again, like there’s a lot of things that are also happening that are beyond your control. Hearings getting delayed. These may increase levels of anxiety for some of your clients and such. And so it’s very important to show and give support during these times. Right. Again, Grace, like the importance of file platforms like DocuSign that would allow you to continue gathering and moving forward cases without the necessity of having to have your clients come to the office and expose themselves and you to risks that are out there. So we cannot stress that enough. How important is it for you to have the right tools to support your operations. But at the same time, to have that compassion, to really understand that everyone’s going through difficult times.
Liel: [00:57:53] Grace, the last takeaway and we have to say it. Wash your hands.
Grace: [00:57:59] Guy, please. Yes. Wash your hands even better than frequently. As you can see, these winds even better than the antibacterial gels that people are buying. Wash your hands.
Liel: [00:58:13] Well, that’s right. They’re all out of stock. Right. Even if you wanted it to have access to anti-bacterial gel, it’s it’s gone. Right. And so wash your hands with soap under a worm. Hot water. What is it? Twice. Happy birthday is the recommendation?
Grace: [00:58:29] Yeah. Happy birthday twice. Yeah. Yeah.
Liel: [00:58:31] Sing twice. Happy birthday. And you carry on. And then you do that again as frequently as you can. Grace. These are times when we all need to come together and stay positive and continue finding ways to grow our businesses, our law firms. But at the same time, protect those around us and act with responsibility.
[00:58:55] Grace, we’re going to come back again to our audience this week with the episode with Nalini Prasad on Local SEO, which I’m sure everyone’s going to appreciate. And if you haven’t heard us, Grace said if you haven’t heard because you’ve been too busy at work or the past few months, some of the episodes on our podcast. Please go ahead and listen, because they may be right. The solution that you need for some of the challenges that you’re facing now, if you have any comments where you have any questions or you need any help with anything that we’ve just talked about today, feel free to reach out to us t firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to do our best to get back to you with solutions and help you implement a solution for your law firm and your current situation that you’re passing by. Thank you for joining us and have a great week. Grace, thank you so much again to you for joining on the short notice. And I’m looking forward to your next conversation again
Grace: [00:59:53] email@example.com, because we have time to look at those e-mails, too.
Liel: [00:59:59] Ok. Thank you, Grace. Have a great day.
Liel: [01:00:08] If you like our show, make sure you subscribe, tell your co-workers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you next week.
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