We have told you that we are open for business despite the Coronavirus pandemic and that we can work with you using traditional means or remotely – allowing us to continue to provide services to our existing clients and also to take on new cases whether it be litigation, Mediation or Collaborative Law. Many people want to move forward with their existing or new cases as best they can even if they can’t meet in person, and even though the family courts are handling matters very differently right now in these difficult times (see https://www.mass.gov/orgs/probate-and-family-court for updates regarding the Court).
How we work with you depends on you. Some existing or new clients are clear that they prefer in-person meetings, so we are working with them using phone and email, and scheduling in-person meetings for a later date. However, it is often helpful or even necessary to see each other when doing our work, or to collaborate or share or have meetings in a way that is not possible via telephone or email right now, which means using remote working tools such as Zoom or Go to Meeting.
Some things to think about when working with your attorney or mediator remotely:
- Tech can be a positive tool in our current Coronavirus environment where working together may be a bit more challenging at times – be open to the possibility of using tools other than email, telephone, or in-person meetings, as we have all had to do. While I have used Zoom for business meetings, so I was very familiar with it, I had not used it with clients before. When I did my first Zoom consult it went well, and the prospective client was happy to have actually “met” me “in-person”.
- Not everyone is tech-savvy or familiar with remote working tools. Assistance is available from us; we have created a document we can share with you to help you get started. We can also refer you to educational videos/websites, and you can even practice with our staff to make sure you feel comfortable and that the tech works. We will have a backup plan in place that we discuss with you in advance of any virtual meeting, in case of things like unstable internet connections that could interfere with the meeting.
- One tip we can give you for online meetings, is to ensure that you have downloaded, setup and tried your meeting tool before the meeting. Test your audio, and always attempt to join a meeting a few minutes early to work out any last-minute issues in your setup. Historically people have issues with audio more than anything, and it’s usually caused by not selecting the right audio devices. One last quick tip, especially for larger meetings, is to mute your microphone when not talking to avoid unnecessary feedback and interference.
- We need to be mindful when people are at home about confidentiality, children and third parties being present or poking their heads in the room, and being able to take a break to meet other obligations or just to address physical and emotional needs that come up when working remotely just as they would if you were working together in person. We will discuss with you setting appropriate parameters so your concerns about all these issues can be met.
- We can be creative in how we work together. We can’t predict everything that may happen when working remotely, just as we can’t predict everything that may happen when we are meeting together. Be prepared for there to be glitches, but having a positive attitude and being understanding go a long way in making things work out.
So, whether you are an existing or new client for litigation, Mediation, or Collaborative Law, we can work with you remotely; or if not comfortable with that, by just phone and email, or even or a combination of all of these options – whatever works best for you.