The year’s headed off to a wild start. Protect your firm and give your clients what they want with this preparedness checklist.

Here are 8 things your colleagues and clients need from you this year:

1. Text your clients

If you haven’t added texting into your communication structure, what’s stopping you? Clients love it. And with text-to-case-file ability, lawyers, paralegals, and staff can operate with greater efficiency while keeping their clients informed of important events.

By texting nudge reminders of upcoming events and deadlines, you can also greatly cut down on missed appointments.

2. Increase client communications on your webpage

A webpage can be so much more than a place to store your contact information. Allow potential clients to submit information about their case online, chat with live representatives, and instantly build a sense of connection with your firm.

3. List COVID precautions on your website

You’re doing everything you can to keep your staff and clients safe. Let them know about it beforehand.

Also add them to your Google My Business profile so clients and potential clients can see ahead of time that you’re taking their health and well-being seriously.

Revisit the CDC’s Resuming Business Checklist to ensure you’re taking all necessary precautionary measures.

4. Partner with a legal call answering service

In uncertain times, a legal call answering service can provide a steady, welcoming presence for your callers. They can help you provide a 24/7 phone line for new intakes, or just fill in the gaps when your staff needs a little help.

5. Create a curbside waiting room

A curbside waiting room protects both clients and staff. You can either establish a firm-wide policy that clients wait outside until an appointment begins, or allow it as an option that clients can choose.

When clients arrive, they text a reception number. Reception staff text back a welcome and estimated waiting time. They receive another text when they can enter and begin the meeting.

6. Embrace e-signatures

To complete legal forms in a fast, efficient, and socially-distanced manner, use tools that enable e-signatures. Forms can be texted or emailed, signed online, and returned in the same manner.

7. Keep your team in the loop

Change is constant, and we’re rarely all in one room together. That makes transparency one of the most sought-after values for law firm employees.

Create a regular schedule for one-on-one meetings and virtual, firm-wide ‘city hall’ meetings. By sharing your vision and addressing questions, you can build cohesion and fight workplace anxiety.

8. Improve your teleconference tools and etiquette

Video consultations and virtual meetings will continue to be a staple of legal work. As the pandemic stretches on, we’ve ironed out many of the teleconferencing kinks. But our patience for mistakes is also at an all-time low.

Check out our “Unwritten Rules of Zoom for Lawyers” piece to ensure you’ve got the right tools for presenting yourself—and you avoid teleconferencing gaffes.

There’s much that we can’t foresee. But whatever happens, firms that use their technology wisely will be better prepared for the year ahead.