The events of the past twelve years are very persuasive.
The old whining excuse that "nobody could have possibly foreseen this" is no longer an acceptable management response.
The law firms that have managed the COVID-19 pandemic the best had already expected the unexpected. Their responses might not have been perfect in every case, but they have been more effective and have produced better financial results than have ad hoc crisis management.
There are four key elements to the Walker Clark approach to contingency planning:
1. reliable informationc
The most important source of this information and market intelligence is your clients. Law firms that are managing the COVID-19 pandemic well are telling us that they also are spending more time -- not less -- communicating with their clients to understand better what the clients will be facing in 2021 and beyond.
2. "what if..." planning
A set of short, specific contingency plans are essential to anticipating and responding to the sudden developments that many law firms don't even see until it is too late.
3. "storm warnings"
What are the measurements that will be the first indicators of a possible crisis? Almost every law firm -- even the smallest ones -- already have these numbers, but most don't know their importance or how to use them. They will help your law firm spot and respond to a developing issue before it becomes a crisis. They can also alert you to opportunities before they pass you by.
4. frequent testing of the plans and the firm's ability to implement them
How do you know that a contingency plan is still relevant and that your firm would actually be able to implement it if the need arises?