Many people are now looking for lawyers who provide online appointments. How would someone know if your law firm offers those?

Google has quietly released a new feature (an attribute) that allows lawyers to add online appointment availability to your Google My Business listing. It is a quick process if you have previously set up Google My Business.

As a blog post from Custom Legal Marketing explained:

Since the COVID-19 measures went into place in March, many law firms started offering online consultations and appointments. With the new Online Appointments attribute, prospects don’t have to visit your website to know that you’re available for virtual appointments.

The post also outlines the step-by-step instructions to utilize this attribute.

Of course, you need Google My Business set up to do this. If your firm hasn’t set this up, it is a serious business mistake. Unless you have as much client work as you can handle, making good use of the tools available in Google My Business is critical in today’s environment.

If you haven’t set up your law firm’s page on Google My Business, go to our May 1, 2020 tip Review and Upgrade Your Google My Business Tools and Settings and read the resources shared there.

Planning in pandemic times can seem like the ultimate oxymoron. So much is uncertain.

Many solo and small firm lawyers are specially threatened by current events because their client base consists primarily of middle-class individuals and/or small businesses. The fates of many small businesses still hang in the balance and many who considered themselves middle-class found themselves filing for unemployment benefits, some for the first time ever. Courthouse closures or restrictions impacted many of these lawyers.

There are many changes resulting from 2020. More clients will be interested in more “touchless” legal services and videoconferencing going forward. But solo and small firm lawyers generally faced many challenges and some faced an uncertain future before 2020.

To chart your future course, I encourage you not to just focus on the current crisis for planning, but also consider the many challenges small firm lawyers serving mostly individual clients and small businesses face. Your tip today is to read my pre-pandemic blog post The Legal Profession in Transition- Solo Practitioners and Their Future. The post also links to a pair of papers written for the New York State Bar Association by Stephen P. Gallagher and Leonard E. Sienko, a pair of deep thinkers about the profession’s future. Their great analysis may make some lawyers uncomfortable. But today this can serve to remind us that change impacting solo and small firm lawyers is happening at a rapid pace and it was happening before 2020.

It is time for the Annual Big Ideas issue of Law Practice Magazine. My contribution for the issue is Pandemic-Proof Your Practice. Obviously, we cannot totally pandemic-proof our law practices, but this article has some ideas about additions or modifications to your disaster plan given the lessons we have all learned.

The issue is packed with other great content including Building Your Lawyer Brand- Professional Identity in the Netflix Era of Law by Juda Strawczynski, The Case for the Delta Model For Lawyer Competency by Prof. Caitlin “Cat” Moon and Re-Regulating Legal Services by Ben Lehnardt and Prof. Anna Carpenter.

If you are not an ABA member, read this issue quickly as I am not exactly certain when/if it goes behind the member’s only paywall. And if you are an ABA member, your membership in the ABA Law Practice Division is included at no additional charge if you register.