Last week we held the very first virtual LabCon. When it became clear that we had to cancel the Atlanta conference in order to contribute to the flattening of the coronavirus curve, we immediately changed gear and planned to hold LabCon on video. On Monday morning, 50 people registered at LabCon from home and from the office and got to work.
Switching from a personal meeting to an online meeting was a lot of work – especially for Stephanie and Jennifer. But it also felt like we had been preparing for it for years. Lawyerist has always had remote team members, so we've had video meetings for a long time, including coaching, mastermind sessions, webinars, and workshops with Lawyerist Lab and insider members.
Of course, we didn't just throw people into a virtual chat. Although we didn't notice much of it, we brought LabCon our own vision. Stephanie has aligned the agenda to practicing during a pandemic. Jennifer cleverly managed the video software, including sending people to and from online breakout rooms. And we have put together a website for LabCon with praise cards, materials, a directory and much more.
In the end it went so well that maybe we could make it a regular event. We don't think it will replace a face-to-face conference, but Virtual LabCon was a great experience too. Just another.
We were thrilled to have the support of our incredible LabCon 2020 sponsors Smith.ai, GNGF and LawClerk, who all played an active role in delivering amazing content and answered the most pressing questions for our attendees!
Here are some of the key issues we addressed at LabCon.
We started LabCon with a discussion about customization. It can take months to reach the point where we can go back to normal. And it doesn't just work from home. The economy will almost certainly shrink and we could very well go into recession. We cannot just put life and practices on hold for that time. Of course, we cannot just pretend that things are going as normal because nothing is common. We have to adapt.
Even thinking about adaptation is an exercise in optimism. Which, yes. We are optimistic. We believe that you can adapt quickly and effectively to minimize downtime and take advantage of the opportunities.
Show that you have it
Perhaps the most powerful message you can currently convey to your customers is relaxation. We have this under control by smoothly switching to video conferencing, digital files and everything else that is needed to get the job done.
The better you can prepare your customers for what to expect, the easier it will be to show them that there is no need to panic. In these uncertain times, it is important to give your customers the confidence that you are here and ready to contact them. Although it looks like you have to adjust a lot and haven't figured everything out yet, you can't afford to panic.
Take some time to let your community know how you're going to make changes in your office given the recent changes. Tell them how to contact you most effectively and what this means for pending cases.
Be ready for remote
Many law firms have been forced to consider leaving the pandemic much faster than expected. This means that you need to think about your policies, people, and technologies to ensure a smooth transition and continue to serve clients at a high level as a virtual law firm. Our latest remote worker at Lawyerist Lab, Maryellen Stockton, chaired this session to assess what you've already set up and where you need to make some adjustments.
Keep track of your finances
With our Financial Scorecard, we have introduced a new tool that you can use to get an immediate picture of where your company is and where you will have to draw the majority of your attention in the coming weeks and months.
Members of the Lawyerist Lab have access to this tool and were introduced live during LabCon. Many have already entered their numbers to get a starting point for the future. CTO Sam Glover and President / Coach Stephanie Everett guided Labsters by entering their numbers and why knowing their financial KPIs will be so important in the coming months.
Delegate to freelancers
In our outsourcing and delegation session, Laura Briggs explained why you need to outsource, what opportunities a solicitor can use to regain some of your time while budgeting, and how to successfully review and hire freelancers and independent contractors. Participants learned how to write job descriptions, conduct interviews, and the keys to independent contractors' long-term success.
Praise & testimonials
One of the highlights of LabCon has always been our worship board, in which participants and employees can invite each other for an excellent experience or an insight. We virtually recorded the Praise Board this year, but had many positive comments. Some of our personal favorites were:
- "Great job swiveling and assembling." Robert B.
- "The whole team of lawyers – you rock! Way to achieve this and make it productive and useful! "Rebecca R.
- "Great facilitated discussions during the outbreaks." Tyler I.
- "Great ideas from Sam, Emily and Rebecca for scaling." Dave S.
- “Labcon happened at just the right time for me. Instead of panicking, I was with a community of other lawyers who focused on using this unprecedented time as a moment to strengthen their practices and explore new opportunities. The team of lawyers gave us both realistic and practical instructions on how to do this in our practices. "Ryan M.
- “The focus of Virtual LabCon on swiveling my practice could not have come at a better time. I am confident, armed and focused on adapting to the new market reality before my competition. "Gary S.
- “LabCon helped with an actionable plan for the immediate crisis and for long-term development. The virtual meeting was a model for how we should and can provide content and services to our customers. "Jennifer W.
This was just a selection of dozens of comments on the support and findings in the main discussions, breakout rooms and one-on-one discussions that were still taking place during the virtual LabCon.
- Your customers still need you, maybe more than ever. It is important to project calm news and clarity about what to expect and how to reach you.
- Your team may suddenly be away, but that's no reason to neglect your opportunity to create processes and plans for working with your team and clients in a virtual law firm.
- To be prepared for a recession, you need to map your current financial situation and look for all the ways to make adjustments to protect you and your company. Labsters can now use the Financial Scorecard as a starting point.
- You cannot do everything alone. By using virtual freelancers, you can expand your budget and focus on what's really important.
Did you get FOMO to read everything we dealt with virtually in just 1.5 days? Make an appointment to talk to our Community Manager.
Thanks again to LabCon 2020 sponsors LawClerk, Smith.ai and GNGF for helping us organize a great event – we couldn't do it without you!
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As part of our Lawyerist Lab program, we work with lawyers to build more successful practices by implementing the ideas from our bestseller The Small Firm Roadmap and our weekly Lawyerist Podcast.
last update May 14, 2020.