A natural or man-made disaster raises a number of practical and logistical challenges for law firms. The New Jersey State Bar Association has created a Disaster Preparedness Planning Guide that includes guidance, practical tips and checklists to help you think about what you need to do now to be prepared should a disaster interrupt your business. Parts of the guide are excerpted below.

To download the full document, as well as a complete disaster plan checklist, visit http://bit.ly/NJSBADisasterGuide.

Please note: The following is information only and should not be considered legal advice. In the event of large-scale disasters, the NJSBA will attempt to provide critical information to members, the profession and community through NJSBA.com and its social media outlets.

Plan Ahead

Form a disaster team, consisting of those individuals who will be taking charge in the event of a disaster.

Backup Solutions

Cloud computing essentially allows attorneys to store data and access programs via the internet instead of on a computer hard drive. It also places the burden of updates, most security issues, and backup and recovery on the provider as opposed to the attorney or law firm, offering far greater resiliency in the event of a disaster.

Protect Your Physical Space

Evaluate the potential hazards for which you are at risk. Develop evacuation routes. Prepare an emergency equipment list, including locations of equipment and attaching floor plans, as well as emergency kits.

Think Now About How to Get Work Done

In addition to personal injury and safety issues, you need to plan for business interruption/economic issues as a result of any disaster. Think about how long you can sustain your practice in light of each potential disaster; the consequences of a potential loss of client base; and how difficult it would be to move your office, temporarily or permanently. Establish potential alternate work locations.


Create an inventory list of all office supplies and other valuables. Photograph, videotape or computer scan as necessary. Store copies of all lists, photos, videos, etc. in multiple ways. Review all of your insurance policies.