Continuity of Operations Planning

To be able to help survivors after a disaster, legal service providers need a detailed plan that addresses a disaster's potential impact on their own operations.

Overview

In the aftermath of a disaster, attorneys may be inundated with urgent legal questions from disaster survivors. However, legal service providers may also be disrupted or devastated by the disaster. They must find a way to efficiently restore operations to meet these pressing legal needs.

That’s why it is critical for legal service providers to develop a continuity of operations plan, or COOP. A COOP facilitates post-disaster recovery by providing the road map to follow before, during, and after an emergency. A COOP should:

  • Include a clear hierarchy of decision-making authority.
  • Identify primary and backup staff members who will handle specific tasks.
  • Identify alternative work locations.
  • Address the range of resources staff members may need.
  • Prioritize the most pressing needs.
  • Require safeguarding hard copies of important documents and routinely backing them up to remote servers, so that they are preserved and access to them can be maintained.
  • Establish multiple communications channels to preserve lines of communication in various scenarios, like loss of electricity, cellular service, or internet access.
  • Undergo annual updates to account for lessons learned, changes in technology, and changes in law or policy.
  • Reflect risks, hazards, and vulnerabilities specific to the geographic area and facility.

This is only a sampling of all the elements that should be considered. See additional resources that provide examples and advices for developing these critical plans.

Resources

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