Practically without warning, New York State closed the Courts and told law offices to close their doors – deeming most of law firms’ work as “non-essential”. With that blow to the ego, law firms and lawyers complied. Then the questions and challenges began.
How does a personal injury department in a law firm continue to operate and continue to provide quality and productive legal services to its clients? For cases in litigation, there are not any court appearances, no trials, and depositions were adjourned. How do the attorneys get new clients and new business, and injured persons retain an attorney? All of these questions and many more needed to be answered and answered quickly.
What we learned over the last few months: Our team of personal injury attorneys effectively and efficiently delivered top-quality legal services to our PI clients and provided complete counsel as needed while not physically present in the office. The PI team spent the time successfully negotiating numerous settlements for our clients despite the Courts being closed and litigation at a standstill. We found that insurance adjusters and defense attorneys had the time to review and evaluate claims. The attorneys spent a considerable amount of time talking to adjusters and attorneys and negotiating and settling cases. Time was on our side because everyone had the time to spend and we all shared a common bound – continue to work and be productive, while staying safe. We had time to review medical records and submit demand packages to insurance companies and defense attorneys. Attorneys had the opportunity to work on and complete large projects which are difficult to devote continuous time to while running to Court and litigating cases.
How could a PI team so easily and seamlessly transition to working remotely? How could a PI team still be so productive? During the last several years, our Firm invested in technology and training. With that technology and training, and years before this shutdown, the PI team had moved to an almost paperless office environment. Files scanned and maintained in the system previously allowed attorneys, paralegals, and support staff the freedom to access a client’s file and information from virtually anywhere. What once was considered a freedom and perk now became vital to the Firm’s ability to work and produce good results, and represent clients. Prior to the shutdown, a PI attorney worked remotely at times. We utilized that experience. The Firm’s internet phone system gave clients and potential new clients easy and immediate access to attorneys and other staff.
In addition, the PI team utilized Zoom, Skype for Business, and Facetime to continue to communicate with clients and to set up virtual appointments with new clients. Attorneys were also able to conduct firm meetings to provide support for each other as well as to continue to discuss how to be more effective and productive. Recently, Judges and law clerks start handling Court appearances virtually.
As the Courts re-opened, our team was ready. On the first day, we filed a number of lawsuits that were put on hold.
As the re-opening process continues, the practice of law will be different and society will be different. With a focus on safety and flexibility, and what we have found out in the last few months, our PI team and Firm will evolve and embrace the changes that will be necessary. These changes will be vital to not just survive but succeed and continue to provide complete counsel to our clients no matter where that attorney is or where that client is, or how we litigate cases, conduct depositions or appear in Court.
The PI team of lawyers at LoTempio P.C. law group, combined, have over 75 years of experience handling all types of personal injury cases: motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, construction accidents, injuries on property, medical malpractice, and significantly nursing home abuse and neglect. We handle claims made under the New York State Child’s Victims Act. As needed, we expect we will pursue claims relating to the Covid-19.
Call us and talk directly with one of our personal injury attorneys about your case. We are here to help.
Stay safe and healthy!