Business as Usual during Coronavirus
When I started Haines Law, P.C., ten years ago, I honestly believed that my business was entirely insulated from economic or disaster driven influences. As a personal injury law firm, we handle all kinds of injury cases from serious industrial accidents to slip and falls. Like most injury attorneys, the majority of our cases are automobile accidents. It seems that allowing people to drive cars that weigh thousands of pounds, some with very little training and experience, is just always going to be a recipe for accidents and injury.
I figured that as long as people are driving, there will always be car wrecks. Thus, there would always be a need for car wreck lawyers. We have been through hurricanes, floods, government shutdowns, oil busts, and economic downturns without any noticeable decrease in business. I used to brag about the resiliency of our business to my friends in oil and other industries. I would tell them, “People are always going to have to drive, right? If oil keeps going down, maybe you can come work for me!”
Like everyone else, I never even considered the possibility of a nationwide quarantine shutting down the economy. The concept of confinement, at least for law abiding citizens, is so foreign to our society. Yet, seemingly overnight, nearly the entire country was under some form of self-quarantine. I have seen pictures of small towns in other countries where the streets are so empty that mountain goats are roaming freely through the city streets. I read an article about how the number of bears roaming through public spaces at Yosemite National Park has quadrupled since the park was closed to the public.
Here in Kingwood, the quarantine has not had such drastic effects. Essential workers, travelling to work, or anyone who has ventured out to the grocery store knows that there are still cars on the roads. Wild hogs are not roaming through Kingwood Town Center, at least not any more than usual. But, traffic has been drastically reduced. There are not as many cars on the roads as there were prior to Coronavirus. Fewer cars have led to fewer motor vehicle collisions.
As an injury lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that my business thrives on the suffering of others. My biggest success is almost always a result of a client’s devastating loss. I sleep well at night because I know that I have helped numerous families through the aftermath of an injury or the death of a loved one. So, while I am concerned about the lack of new business, I can’t really complain – with a clear conscience – about the lack of motor vehicle collisions. I don’t want people to get hurt. I just want to make sure that I am prepared to help them if they are.
Updates to Our Firm’s Operations
At Haines Law, P.C., we are taking this time to revamp our systems and processes. Several months prior to the outbreak, we moved all our systems from a private server at our office into to a private cloud. This gave us remote access to all of our client data, documents, emails, and anything else we might need to serve our clients. So, when it became apparent that our local government was going to order us to stay home, our only concern was how we would be available to our clients by telephone.
In the days leading up to the quarantine, I researched several IP telephone systems. I was able to choose a system and get it installed and operating just prior to the stay at home order being issued. So, when you call our office now, our receptionist will answer your call and have the ability to transfer you to an attorney or any other employee. The systems allow us to operate a fully functioning practice, just as if we were all sitting in our offices. With these systems in place and business functioning as usual, we are now looking to upgrade our case management system. This should allow us to better serve existing and new clients when things get back to normal.