I hope this finds you safe and well.
Because we serve older populations, we are especially concerned about protecting our clients, friends and ourselves from coronavirus exposure and the risk of contracting COVID-19. We want to do all we reasonably can to protect you and ourselves, while continuing to be available to meet the needs of our current and future clients. If what we’re doing seems unnecessary to some of you who read this, we sincerely hope that it turns out that way. But given the high level of uncertainty with things changing constantly, we think it’s our responsibility to take a “better safe than sorry” approach.
Accordingly, we have instituted several measures directed toward limiting physical interactions between us and current and prospective clients and family members who are assisting them with their planning, and toward being safe when such physical interactions are necessary and possible.
A large part of this involves using available technologies that can significantly limit the need for in-person interactions. We’re already all familiar with two technologies that are very helpful in that regard: cell phones and email. Those will certainly help a great deal. What’s more, we can enhance their effectiveness, and utilize some other technologies I’ll describe below.
We have a video meeting software program called Zoom which will enable us to meet with you by video conference, using any device equipped with a webcam and a microphone, such as a PC, laptop, notebook, or even your cell phone. Zoom has the capability of including numerous people in a meeting, and anyone in the meeting can put documents up on screen for other meeting participants to see Think of it kind of like “FaceTime” or “Skype” except with much greater capabilities. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with it. It’s surprisingly easy, and we’ll walk you through it.
If we meet in person at our offices, we will do so in a way that helps assure your and our health and safety. For as long as the law requires masks, we will require them of everyone. When that requirement is lifted, we will require them only if one or more participants in a meeting has not been vaccinated, but we will wear them at any client’s request.
In the case of phone calls (and Zoom video meetings), with a little advance planning we can easily arrange it so that more than two people can participate, even if we’re all at separate locations. We’re able to coordinate that here. You’ll just need to let us know (or we’ll let you know) who all should be on a particular call or Zoom meeting.
In the case of your getting documents to us that include information we need to access or review in handling your legal matter, several options are available.
First, as my tech-savvy son let me know, almost everyone who has a cell phone now has the ability to scan in documents and transmit them to us electronically. There is a free app available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play (where you download apps for other types of phones) called Genius Scan. Basically, you just point your phone at whatever you want to scan, take a picture of it with your phone, then it’s ready to transmit. Of course, if you or a family member has a scanner, that’s even better. For those of you who will be downloading and using the Genius Scan app, here’s a link to a helpful video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLP2iOPmMk&feature=youtu.be.
Second, any new client and any existing client who doesn’t already have one can get set up with a secure “client portal” through our practice management software, Practice Panther. You can use your client portal to securely transmit documents to us electronically, to avoid security risks often found in platforms like email. Incidentally, you can also use it to securely make payments to us, not only by credit card but also by electronic check.
Third, if you’re willing to accept the risk of putting important documents in the mail (or with a courier), you could mail them, or FedEx or UPS them, to us. If you use regular mail, we’ll need to allow a little extra time for that.
Finally, you can drop off documents at our office, as long as that is done safely, either by leaving them in the document drop box just outside the office door (in the interior entry), or by masking up and leaving them at the front desk without any long interaction. We will generally be keeping the door locked for safety, but you can just ring the doorbell to let us know you’re here.
If you have any alternative suggestions for how to “make it work smoothly, but also make it safe,” we will welcome them. Like everyone else, we’re doing our best to try to figure out how to make things work.