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PRODUCTIVITY

Technical issues and too many participants are biggest virtual meeting pet peeves

Have you had about enough of video meetings? If so, you’re not alone. A new study by global staffing firm Robert Half shows video calls may be wearing on workers. Almost three-quarters of professionals surveyed (72 per cent) said they participate in virtual meetings. Those respondents reported spending about a quarter of their workday (24 per cent) on camera with business contacts or colleagues. In addition: 44 per cent said they’ve experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic. 59 per cent said video calls can be helpful but are not always necessary. 22 per cent noted that the practicality and novelty of video conferencing has worn off over the past eight months. 15 per cent confirmed they find virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting and prefer to communicate via… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Renting out extra space? Set up protective walls to avoid risk

With more law firm employees working from home during the pandemic, a firm may find itself living in too much space—and paying too much rent. One solution is to bring in a tenant. Usually the renter is a solo practitioner or a small firm, and the arrangement is good for everybody, because the firm collects the rent and the renter gets the amenities as well as the appearance of an association with the larger group. From a risk perspective, however, it’s a cause for concern. The firm has to look past the financial benefits to the danger spots. It has to think like a landlord and get signed documents and insurance policies. And more, it has to set up protections against the disasters specific to a law firm/law firm lease… . . . read more

TOOL

Model visitors’ waiver of COVID-19 infection liability form

As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, you run the risk of being sued by clients, vendors, guests and other visitors (“visitors”) who claim they contracted the virus at your office as a result of your inadequate safety measures. One way to limit liability is having visitors sign a form agreeing to waive their rights to sue you for COVID-19 infections before entering the office. Although there’s no guarantee that a court would enforce such a waiver, the Model Form below uses fairly conservative language that has been found to be enforceable in other situations. Caveat: The inclusion of the phrase purporting to insulate you against your own negligence in Sections 3 and 4 is fairly risky and you may want to talk to counsel about whether to use it… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Make the most of your time during coronavirus

By Elizabeth Miller bio I know this is not only a time of uncertainty but also fear as we try to make sense of this situation.  It’s difficult to know what to do and what not to do.  Conflicting stories and information seem overwhelming.  And then there is your law practice to worry about. When all is said and done, your law practice needs to survive. Fortunately working remotely is now an option for so many firms. In fact, the firms that are doing it are actually thriving because everyone is on board with working remote and using technology. Years ago, it would have been stop work or risk going into the office. There are some things that you can do to make good use of your time: Work on… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Take advantage of case management software benefits

By Elizabeth Miller  bio Case management software is now so popular in law firms that it is rare to hear of a firm that does not have it. The problem is that even though firms have the software, they don’t take advantage of all the benefits. Managing incoming leads and cases Give your law firm an advantage over other firms by providing potential clients with an exceptional experience without the need for face to face interaction. Offer your clients e-signature to sign retainer agreements and other documents from anywhere. Digitize your client intake with forms making it efficient and convenient to sign on with your firm. Centralized case details The great thing about case management software is that all client information, communications, time entries and notes are in one place. … . . . read more

EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the answer… . . . read more

CORONAVIRUS

What employees and managers can do to protect each other

By Lynne Curry bio I’m scared. I don’t feel like my boss or coworkers are taking COVID-19 seriously. The medical professionals say we should be wiping down high-touch places. In our office, I’m the one who does it. So does that make me on the front line? Does my doing all this cleaning let everyone else feel safer so they don’t think they need to do anything? It would be fair if we rotated the cleaning but I can’t count on anyone else doing a good job so I “suck it up, Buttercup.” My mom works for a large company. When her coworker picked up his son from the airport, the coworker and his family remained at home for fourteen days due to hosting someone who recently traveled, despite the… . . . read more

Coronavirus

Before you let your employees work remote

By Paul Edwards bio In light of growing concerns surrounding coronavirus, many businesses are wondering if they will be faced with a decision to send employees home and/or close their doors for a period of time. One popular idea to address these concerns is to offer remote work (or ‘telework’) options. If you don’t regularly have remote workers, this may not be something you’re prepared to do. That said, we recommend making a plan now so you’re ready when you need it. The guidance we offer below is “perfect world” guidance. We realize that you may not be able to get all of these items in place on short-notice. In such cases, you will just have to do your best to meet your business’ needs during temporary remote-work scenarios. In… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New overtime rule now in effect

By Mike O’Brien bio Jan. 1, 2020 was the deadline to comply with new FLSA overtime rule. At the end of September the Department of Labor issued its long-awaited final rule updating the salary level test for white-collar overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the new rule, the minimum salary level for exemption is raised from $455 a week to $684 a week, or $35,568 annually. The change marks the first increase in the minimum salary level to take effect in more than 15 years. It is expected to bring overtime eligibility to over a million employees who are ineligible under the current threshold. Although the DOL released a final rule raising the salary level in 2016, the rule was blocked by a federal district court and… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

How the “broken windows” theory applies to your law business

The “broken windows” theory is that a building with broken windows is evidence of abandonment, neglect of the property and a lack of respect for the law. In its simplest form, the “broken windows” is the beginning of the decline


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