Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. A parent dying and leaving small children is an unmitigated disaster to the family. As far as they are concerned, it is of more significance to them than the Gulf Coast hurricanes. The family disaster is worse if the deceased was the family breadwinner without adequate life insurance, but all of the life insurance one could buy doesn’t repair the damage.

After spending time with many lawyers impacted by disaster in Mississippi and Louisiana, I’m still trying to collect my thoughts. Losing your business completely to wind or floodwaters is bad enough, but it is just the first part of the equation. Then you have clients scattered across the country with no way to contact them. Your cash flow dries up. You have to deal with a court system that is not fully functional. If you are really unlucky, you might have to deal with a lawyer from another state who thinks that you should have been able to return to business as usual by this time. The Mississippi casinos employed 17,000 and there were many more industry-related jobs. All these people can no longer pay their lawyers–and many other things.

We know there are more disasters ahead, whether they are small or huge, heart attacks or floods.

There is no time like the present to prepare yourself and your law practice to better survive the worst. Here’s an article I wrote several years ago: The LawyerThinks About Disasters. This month’s Law Practice Today is a special disaster preparation and recovery issue with lots of great articles by experts. (The link is to the current issue. Later, you’ll have to look for October, 2005 articles in the archives.)