Attorneys need to be proactive, a pillar of strength, business minded, resourceful and strategic during economic downturns and stressful situations like the one that is facing us in 2020. Those attorneys that are reactive and passive are not made for a crisis such as this.
Fornaro Law has built a law firm model that allows its attorneys and staff to thrive when their clients need them most. This is why we grew and were successful at helping our clients during the Great Recession. We absorbed our clients’ problems and gave them security when they needed it most.
We are all in a similar situation today. Do not despair. Rely on your professionals to guide and provide you with a foundation to deal with the many issues that you are facing.
During a recent meeting with a number of CEOs (yes it was a videoconference), I asked how many of their attorneys reached out to them to offer unsolicited advice, guidance and ideas. Not one CEO had an attorney do that for them. We are reaching out everyday to clients verbally and through email.
It is critical for your attorneys to provide you with ideas and to help you navigate through this very stressful time. Also, after reading this blog do not hesitate to contact your attorney to ask if he or she has any ideas.
If they do not answer your questions or provide similar information that it is in this blog or charge you for the call, please feel to call us. We are happy to take your call and just talk about your business or personal issue and offer guidance.
This is what Fornaro Law has been telling its clients during the past month.
- Make sure you look at your insurance policy. Perhaps there is a business interruption provision or maybe your umbrella policy can assist. Although it is a long shot, you never know until you review it.
- Call your lender and talk to them. They may have a solution and at the very least will be happy and will remember that you called and were professional. There are SBA solutions and forbearance agreements that lenders are offering.
- Call your bank and your accountant as the government is providing significant funding for disaster relief.
- Call your attorney, accountant and bank as the government also did something amazing. They created a program called the Payment Protection Program (“aka the Cares Act”) which incentivizes employers to keep its employees during this downturn rather than sending them to unemployment. It is a loan at reasonable rates and amortization to help you manage your payroll and other expenses. It is potentially forgivable if you follow the parameters of the program.
- If you are a landlord, call your tenant. If you are a tenant call your landlord. You both are likely having the same issues. Do not ignore the situation.
- Communicate more during a crisis not less.
- Do not put your head in the sand.
- This is a time to be reasonable as this pandemic is nobody’s fault.
- If you are afraid or anxious about making a call or interacting, ask your attorney to do it.
- Review all of your contacts and leases to determine if there is a way to renegotiate terms or if you have some type of relief in case people do not act reasonably.
- Ascertain the extent of your liabilities and talk to your accountant.
- Cut your overhead and unnecessary expenses.
- Conserve cash.
- Be proactive rather than reactive.
- Talk to your accountant frequently. It is a great stress relief.
- Get your powers of attorney in order immediately. You never know if you will be in the hospital. Thousands of people found themselves in the hospital without powers of attorney.
- Check your estate planning to give yourself a peace of mind. This will reduce anxiety.
- Check your corporate documents. Before you get into a default position determine if your entities are in good standing, that you have the proper asset protection, that the correct people are on the operating agreement and shareholder agreements.
- Speak to your health care provider.
- Speak to your financial planner.
Tom Hagen in the Godfather was a magnificent attorney in peace time, but he was not a war time consigliere.
We would love to talk to you.
Fornaro Law practices in the area of business and corporate law, estate planning, commercial and residential real estate, commercial work outs, banking law and litigation.