Surviving a Disaster: A Lawyer’s Guide to Disaster Planning

We all like to avoid thinking about bad things like earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. We also tend to avoid thinking about other things that might impact on our personal and professional lives. However, major and minor disasters abound, are a fact of life, and will occur whether we like it or not, due to natural causes or by human error or malicious actions.

And while major natural disasters are typically the ones that get the most attention and headlines, even minor disasters – a burst pipe in the server room or the sudden and unexpected departure of a law partner or key law firm staff member – can cause significant harm to a law firm. Fortunately, with some planning and preparation, the potential harms that disasters can cause can be mitigated, and even avoided, in many cases.

The ABA Committee on Disaster Response & Preparedness just released Surviving a Disaster: A Lawyer’s Guide to Disaster Planning. It is a detailed 44 page step by step guide on disaster planning for law firms. It will assist law firms in creating and implementing a business continuity plan. It introduces you to the key components of a continuity plan that will make sure the critical business functions of your firm can continue in the event of a major disaster or minor unexpected practice interruption. The Guide has a number of checklists that reviews the factors to be considered and the steps to be taken in both preparing a plan and responding to a disaster.

You can find additional disaster planning resources are at

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