practicePRO Resource: A quiz to determine your firm’s disaster preparedness
None of us like to think about disasters, and most us have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude. This short quiz, from the Managing Practice Interruptions booklet, will help you determine your ability to survive some common “disaster” scenarios.
- If all of the computers in your office were stolen over the weekend, do you have all the serial numbers of the equipment, the original cost of the equipment, the value of the equipment, and the ability to recreate all of the data on the computers?
- If your office was completely destroyed by fire, how long would it take you to contact all of your clients, recreate all your computer data, contact your insurance company, process invoices, contact opposing counsel and generally get your practice operational again? Who would be responsible for performing each of these functions?
- If you had a heart attack tonight, are your files organized so that someone could pick up your caseload without your clients suffering any disadvantage?
- If you could suddenly not come into the office on Monday, have you designated the person who could pick up your caseload? Even if you have a partner, how much does he/she really know about your caseload?
- If you were unable to come into the office for a few days or weeks, could anyone actually find anything on your desk or in your files? Does the answer change if your assistant was off sick or away on vacation at the same time?
- If your secretary/legal assistant/bookkeeper suddenly quit, do you know their filing systems so that you can find information in their desks, in their (or your) files, or on their computers? Do you have copies or know where they keep the keys for filing cabinets, etc.? Do you know all their respective passwords (including voice mail, computer login, e-mail, the accounting package and any other software applications they use)?
- If one of your staff members disappeared with client trust funds, would you have sufficient records to determine what was taken and when?
- If you have a partner/associate who was suddenly disabled, do you or someone in your office know his/her schedule for the next three months? Do you or someone in your office know the status of all matters in your office?
- If you or a partner in your firm were disabled for an extended period of time, will you be able to draw a salary? If so, how much and for how long? If you are a sole practitioner and the only rainmaker, how will expenses of the firm be paid while you are out and unable to make rain?
- If you were to die or be completely unable to return to work, what would your desk, client files, and office organization say about you to anyone who would have to step in to assume responsibility? What burdens would this place on your partners and spouse? Is this the way you want to be remembered?
If you were unable to answer all of these questions as quickly or as adequately as you would like, then you need to do some disaster recovery planning. Regardless of the size of your firm or practice, you need to create an easy to implement plan which will assist you, or anyone in your office, if there were an unexpected practice interruption affecting you, your staff or your firm.