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    How to Avoid Chaos for Law Firms from Hurricane Irene and East Coast Earthquakes


      As I write this, I’m watching an incredibly scary, strengthening Hurricane Irene making her way closer to the mainland while at the same time my iPhone is being flooded with texts from friends in New York (both sides of the state – Buffalo and NYC), telling me they were all just rattled by an earthquake.

      Evidently another one preceded it near Colorado a short time earlier.   All the while, there is evidently total chaos in the Middle East.    What next?!

      We, along with our readers, wish the very best for those directly affected by any of these horrible events.   We hope and pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.    It’s a sad fact that those who already have it the worst often get hit the hardest by these events; let’s hope they in particular get by and that we can all do something to help.     As for Irene, we’re rooting for her to take a one-way ticket out to sea, and hopefully that the earthquake will prove to be just a one-time passing scare.

      If you’re lucky enough to not be affected at all by any of these things, be grateful, but also take a second to reflect.  The truth is that crazy things happen, and usually at the most inconvenient times. Fortunately, these days technology helps us plan a little for those inevitable obstacles.   We can’t stop hurricanes or earthquakes, but we are able to do some things in advance to help mitigate their impact, at least on our businesses.

      It’s actually pretty amazing how taking just a few simple, inexpensive steps can dramatically help reduce your stress level and save countless problems later on. (And take that from someone who has had computer crashes while fleeing from hurricanes: a two-fer.)   The incremental piece of sanity you can maintain during unexpected events that allows you to better focus on your family, your personal life, and your clients (who are also probably freaking out themselves), without having to worry about all your key business data being safe is something you will thank yourself for.

      If you haven’t already started planning for that day, start now.   Start by phasing out all that insecure paper laying around, and making sure all of your critical day-to-day stuff  (e.g. your calendar, your task list, your docs, your time records) is always web-accessible and stored automatically on secure, remote servers. Depending upon the reliability of your own devices is futile, they crash and fail – often. Similarly, thinking somehow that your office file cabinets or computers have anywhere near the same degree of security and reliability as afforded by good SaaS companies is also just asking for trouble.

      Trust me, as Rocket Matter’s “numbers guy” I can attest to the fact that it costs us a lot to work with companies who help enable us to provide extremely high levels of redundancy and security to our lawyers.    We can provide the kind of protection you, as a single law firm, are simply not likely going to be able to get on your own, with the possible exceptions of:

      (a) you being one of those “money is no object” kind of high-rollers who routinely dine on $12,000 pizzas and Hubert Keller-prepared $ 5,000 burgers; or

      (b) you having uber-high level IT contacts in the military who owe you some favors; you know, the kind of computer geeks who work underground behind several feet of steel and concrete.

      The good news is that you can get that kind of redundancy and security, easily and inexpensively, by using legal productivity sofware. Your mental health is worth it, and your clients will eventually thank you for it, one way or the other.

      So, hopefully you’ll be unaffected by any of the craziness that’s happening out there now.    If you’re not affected, be thankful that you dodged this one and think about getting yourself better prepared to face the next.

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