Monthly Archives: March 2020

Best Practices for Transitioning your Law Firm to a Remote Location

By: Snehal Massey, Esquire and Mary Roby Sanders, Esquire


COVID-19 has thrust our profession, along with the entire world, into a tailspin, forcing us to advance our processes and technologies without giving us advance notice or an option.  In this climate of shutdowns and “new normal” it seems daunting to continue to conduct business while we move our “firms” to remote set-ups in our individual homes. The list of “how do yous” are endless: how do you access files, how do you meet with your team and clients, how do you mail or scan things, how do you receive your phone calls? Although these concerns can be overwhelming, as lawyers we are naturally adaptable, and we are lucky that the practice of law lends itself to easily function in a digital/remote workspace.   In 2020 we are fortunate to have many options that are both user friendly and affordable to help us run our practices seamlessly, even during this constantly changing climate.

Now that your team will be working remotely, it is important to be open and transparent with your team members.  Clear communication has never been more important than at a time like this. That communication should include your expectations regarding work flow, practical information about court closures and such, as well as check-ins on the health and safety of your team members.  During these uncertain times, your team will not only appreciate your transparency and honesty, it will be reassuring to them to be sure of something in a world of unknowns.  

Make sure everyone is setup to work remotely – either through a remote access program or a VPN – virtual private network. If your firm’s server is cloud-based, you will be able to access your files by simply logging in directly to the server from an internet connection in any location.  Alternatively, if your firm’s server is housed directly at the office, you need software to be able to remotely login to your computer in the office to access the server – for this you still need an internet connection but you are literally working off your work computer. 

Next establish clear policies for your staff and clients and communicate these policies to make sure everyone is on the same page.  Assure your staff and clients that, You are not CLOSED. Let the public know you are still open for business and available to meet their needs.  In fact, there is no need for lengthy “out of office messages” telling your clients you are working remotely.  Your current and prospective clients will not be concerned where you are working as long as you remain available and continue to provide the same level of service they expect from you.


Virtual meetings

If you establish that your physical office is closed to clients, how will you meet with clients and prospective clients while complying with the CDC requirements to maintain appropriate social distance?  Fortunately, there are an array of video conferencing options to help you continue to meet with your clients and team virtually.  Platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype (now a part of Microsoft Teams), Google Hangouts, are just a few options that enable you have face-to-face meetings virtually and affordably. An important feature of these platforms is that many of them allow you have meetings with multiple people–you can even conduct regular team meetings, have four-way meetings, or even mediations – virtually.  Currently, Zoom is very popular because it has a fairly robust free option – unlimited one-one meetings, meetings with multiple attendees for up to 40 minutes, etc.   All these platforms are intuitive and user friendly.  They even have screen sharing options to allow you to collaborate on documents in real time with your clients/team, etc.  Another simple, free, and easily accessible option is FaceTime.


Team collaboration

Establish how, and how often, you will communicate with your team.  Just because your team is socially distant shouldn’t mean you are working in silos – thankfully, today’s technology allows us to be connected more than ever before.  To maintain collaboration and teamwork while you are apart, strive to conduct regular virtual team meetings.  Use platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts Chat to collaborate with your team.  Additionally, these platforms have instant messaging capabilities for individuals or groups – to communicate instantly with your team. 



With the increase of e-filing, many firms have already made a shift to be more paperless. Now that you are working remotely, it’s likely you will be more paperless than you anticipated.  While some may have compact scanner/printer/fax machines, it’s likely many do not have all three at your home office.  Did you know you can now use your phone to scan and fax documents?  Programs such as Adobe Scan and Fax are both free apps that convert photos into PDFs to email and/or fax digitally.  Additionally, any Word document can be saved as a PDF file, which eliminates the extra step of printing and scanning Word documents.


Phone Access  

One of the most important aspects of working remotely is how to continue to answer phone calls remotely. Whether you have a VOIP phone system or hardwired phone system, your phone service provider should be able to forward your calls from your business line to another number. This means all calls made to your business line can be answered remotely to ensure continuity for your clients.  A bonus feature to having a VOIP system is that most VOIPs have apps that allow you to make calls from your cell phone while masking your cell phone number as your business line.  If you do not have a VOIP system, apps such RingCentral or Grasshopper will mask your cell phone number as your business line, at a reasonable cost. 


Document Storage

Use programs such as DropBox, Google Drive, or OneDrive to share documents electronically to clients or opposing counsel – this will not only reduce your postage costs but it will also eliminate the waiting period for receipt of documents, since the files are delivered almost instantly.


Accounting and getting paid

Many accounting programs are now cloud based or have online options.  Programs such as QuickBooks online enable you to login to your system from anywhere to continue to send out bills electronically with a link to process payments.  Programs such as LawPay enable clients to pay their bills online securely via a link or a portal on your website.  You can also offer ACH transfers as an option, if a client would rather not use a credit card.

Finally, if you happen to have any downtime while working remotely, use it to your advantage to tamp down your never-ending to-do lists.  Update (or create) your marketing plan, revamp your website, update your bio, explore the technology mentioned here to help automate your practice, revise your budget to include additional technology, attend webinars, etc. 

After COVID-19 is long over, it is very likely that our profession and every other profession will be utilizing technology much more in normal everyday tasks.  Now is the time to prepare for what is sure to become a more permanent “new normal.”


TNS continues to offer legal services to family law clients during this crisis.  If you have any questions about family law matters in Maryland, please contact Snehal Massey or Mary Roby Sanders at Turnbull, Nicholson, & Sanders, P.A., (410) 339-4100 or please email them at or   









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