How Firms Are Communicating to Their Clients About COVID-19

Two Texas attorneys weigh in

Published in 2020 Texas Super Lawyers Magazine

Like most industries, law firms are struggling to deal with the disruption of normal life created by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With attorneys shifting to working remotely, many firms have taken it upon themselves to reach out to clients, offering information ranging from how to reach an attorney in the current landscape to how the crisis might affect clients’ businesses and personal lives.

A picture of Michael S. ByrdByrdAdatto in Dallas represents health care professionals, mostly small businesses. “As we struggled last week with how to run our firm in light of the pandemic, we realized our clients needed the information we ourselves were trying to solve,” says Michael S. Byrd. “We decided that the most beneficial way to communicate would be through a series of videos addressing the real-time questions that businesses are facing.”

The videos focus on safety and policies for health-care employees and patients. “We are trying to meet our clients where they are in this chaos, where things change in a manner of hours. We realized that the only way to reach them in real time was to publish information that was easy to digest and point them to more detailed resources when needed.”

An email accompanying a video sent out by ByrdAdatto on March 19 said, “Brad Adatto and Michael Byrd will be giving insights as to the considerations and liabilities of running a business during this crisis.”

Austin construction-law firm Allensworth & Porter followed a similar pattern.

A picture of Amy Emerson“As the COVID-19 situation unfolded, our first priorities were activating disaster preparedness systems and technology to protect the health of our personnel and to ensure business continuity for our clients,” says litigator Amy Emerson. “Now that our office has transitioned to primarily working remotely, we’re reaching out personally to our clients rather than sending a global-blast message. 

“Our outreach has focused on three things: (1) checking on them and their loved ones, (2) letting them know we are fully operational, and (3) proactively identifying potential issues that may be impacting them.”

As an example, the firm sent out a client update, created in partnership with construction project-management company CPM Texas, explaining how construction companies can comply with community-gathering orders issued by Austin and Travis and Williamson counties.  

“In communicating with our clients, we wanted to demonstrate how much we value our personal relationships with them,” says Emerson. “Our job is always to help our clients navigate risk and solve problems, and they are likely to need that help now more than ever. Finally, it is imperative to us that we are not contributing to the panic, but instead providing the steady support and counsel our clients deserve in this unprecedented time.”

For more information and articles for legal professionals navigating COVID-19 as it relates to their law practice and clients, visit FindLaw’s COVID-19 resource center or visit superlawyers.com/articles (search for COVID-19).  

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