It was not very long ago that our law firm, like other businesses, was growing, and everyday in our offices were filled with the somewhat-excited-somewhat-nervous chatter of clients speaking a wide range of languages and dialects. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis, and its direct fall out, hit our law firm square in between the eyes, and in August 2020 we find ourselves in a place where we have to make fast, dramatic changes, in the hopes that our firm will be able to find a footing to adapt to and be successful in the future America, which will, for a time, look little like the America that made our firm’s pre-Covid philosophies, systems, and even models of revenue, possible.
To that end we have closed our physical location, and we remain temporarily closed until at least October 2020 to any new clients or jobs. Any existing clients are receiving an update on our new operations, and if you are reading this and are an existing client and this is a surprise, just hold tight, an announcement is coming to your email and post-box soon. In addition, any cases we have with USCIS or EOIR we are in the process of rerouting to a new mailing address, and we plan to continue servicing all cases we have filed and remain responsible for.
This move to close is more than a public health maneuver, it is absolutely necessary for enabling ourselves to be a firm which is actually effective for its clients in this new environment. It’s necessary because, to be perfectly blunt, the past five months have really been terrible for us, in terms of how difficult it has been to work, and terrible for our clients, in terms of how difficult it has seemed for them to work with us.
The ugly truth is that we have not been able to provide anywhere near the level of service that has earned us strong client reviews since 2016. Indeed, to be perfectly blunt, if there was a time not to work with our firm, it was during the past five months. We struggled to return phone calls, keep up with work, and be there in a way for clients that both we and our clients were used to seeing. Part of this was balancing new child-care duties for all staff with work duties; part of it was having one of our partners hospitalized for what was almost certainly Covid-19 before tests were available, and then that same partner leaving for justifiable family and personal reasons, albeit during a time when we could ill afford to lose them; part of it was the inability of immigration agencies and courts to stay open or even process applications; part of it was the ongoing insistence of the Trump administration to issue further immigration bans and to otherwise do everything in their power to make immigration advocacy challenging to the point of sometimes being impossible.
Yes, other businesses have faced the same challenges and dynamics with customers, but law firms are unique, in that we are paid to be on top of things and not make mistakes. Let me tell you, that has not been the level of service we have sniffed on a regular basis if at all during the past five months.
We feel then that a full commitment to an at-home, web-first business is necessary if we are to get back to a standard of service we can be proud of, and that we can honestly sell as being better than what potential clients may be able to do on their own.
Our plan for now is to keep most staff furloughed through the completion of existing cases, and to put a pause on taking on any new cases. From there, we will work to reopen the business, with a new model, new philosophy, and a new way of doing things in the post-Covid world.
We thank you for checking us out. If you wished to hire us, we are sorry, as we are not currently willing to let you hire a firm that can’t deliver top-notch service. Check us out again in October, when we will have closed the gap between where we are used to being – that is, at the top of our game – and where Covid-19 has so far forced us to be.