In our personal lives, we maintain cars, a home and our health. Similarly, our law firms also require regular under-the-hood maintenance. Certain set-it-and-forget-it elements of a business require our periodic attention to keep things running smoothly. Some of these include: insurance contracts, security measures, policies and procedures manuals, contingency plans and relationships with third-party service providers.
Scheduling regular reviews of your insurance is critical to ensuring you have adequate coverage. Simply renewing annually without further analysis of your needs is insufficient to protect your risk exposure. This includes property, contents, commercial, general liability and business interruption insurance, crime coverage and disability and life or other personal coverage.
Anybody who has dealt with insurance claims knows it can be a frustrating process. One proactive measure to make this process less painful is to have a current, itemized list of insurable assets. To pre-empt challenges to the accuracy of your list, schedule regular times throughout the year to go through your office and take videos or photos of insurable items.
Combating potential breaches of security should be a high priority for any business. As part of your maintenance routine, regularly update access codes and passwords. While this must be done any time an employee leaves, changing these items on a regularly set schedule is the best practice.
Also schedule time to make sure computer software is updated and free from any malware or viruses.
Breach of privacy is an increasingly publicized issue. As clients and the general public become more aware of risks of privacy breaches, they will be more demanding of how their data is protected. As part of your maintenance routine, regularly review privacy and data storage policies and update as necessary to reflect developments in the law and data protection strategies.
Review policies and procedures
It is imperative for every firm, small or large, to have a comprehensive and current policies and procedures manual. Schedule time at regular intervals to review your manual. If you hire articling students, a review of this manual is an excellent project for them.
Review powers of attorney and will
Part of your maintenance procedure should include a review of your contingency planning. This includes your powers of attorney and the will for your practice and updating them as necessary.
Review contracts and subscriptions with service providers
From Netflix, Amazon Prime and Microsoft products to legal services and publications, subscription services are in all areas of our lives. Without closely monitoring these, you run the risk of spending large sums of money on services that you hardly use or are not delivering the value you initially expected. A regular audit of your subscriptions is a good way to keep unnecessary expenditures down or to at least become cognizant of all the services you use.
Like maintaining various areas of your personal life, regular maintenance of key elements that prop up your business will give you peace of mind. If you have staff, delegate maintenance tasks where appropriate so that it is less overwhelming for you. A disciplined maintenance regime will free you to focus on the services that you deliver.