Law in the Time of Coronavirus

Hosted ByRobert Ingalls

Running your law practice from a distance during the Coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast is a resource to help lawyers navigate the current storm and keep their firms running smoothly and profitably.

How to Take Your Law Firm Virtual During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Tom Petrelli

The last two months have seen seismic shifts in the world, severely impacting not only day-to-day life but how firms are practicing law. This new podcast from Lawpods, Law in the Time of Coronavirus, is a resource to help lawyers navigate the current storm and keep their firms running smoothly and profitably. In each episode, we’re going to be featuring experts, including managing partners, firm managers, marketers, and other experts from the legal field, to shed some light on how this crisis is affecting them and the strategic steps they’re taking to stay in control.

In this inaugural episode, host Robert Ingalls speaks with divorce and family law attorney Tom Petrelli of Petrelli Previtera on how his firm has handled the transition to a virtual workspace. While Tom has been utilizing cloud-based solutions and other remote-friendly tools prior to the Coronavirus crisis, Tom says the pandemic has helped him and his team identify gaps in their preparedness strategy.

Tom reveals the various tools, services, and workflows that his firm is employing to provide remote work solutions to the entire team. These include apps for project management, business intelligence, communication, and secure document storage. Additionally, he shares risk mitigation techniques to combat risks associated with using technology, particularly related to data security and privacy.

Tom also provides tips on how to remotely manage staff, stressing the importance of regular and productive meetings as well as maintaining consistent client communication. Petrelli Previtera is committed to providing new, existing, and former clients with the help, support, and guidance they may need, especially those who are facing increasingly demanding challenges. Using this time to focus on community building and taking care of employees is a long-term strategy that works for everyone.

For Tom, it’s necessary to have realistic expectations when it comes to working remotely during the pandemic. Tom’s parting advice is to accept that you’re unlikely to accomplish as much as you’re accustomed to in the office, and to take things day-by-day.

You can connect with Tom Petrelli at or via email at

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Read Full Transcript

Intro:                            00:01                So, the big question is this. In these uncertain times, in this uncertain economy, how are some lawyers adapting their practices so they’re not only surviving, they’re thriving while others are folding under the pressure? We’re talking to those lawyers and legal professionals to find out what’s working, what’s not, and what they’re doing to stay on top. You’re listening to Law in the Time of COVID-19.

Robert Ingalls:               00:27                Welcome to episode one of Law in the Time of Coronavirus. This podcast is powered by Lawpods, producing branded podcasts for law firms. Now, we launched this podcast to help lawyers and law firms manage and overcome the stresses of practicing law and operating a business during this unprecedented crisis. And on each episode, we’re going to be featuring experts, including managing partners, firm managers, marketers, and other experts from the legal field to shed some light on how this crisis is affecting them and the strategic steps that they’re taking to stay in control. We’re going to be discussing some of the most pressing issues that attorneys are facing, including maintaining business continuity, moving your law firm into the cloud, operating your law firm virtually and securely, managing a remote team for the first time for many of them and modifying your marketing approach to meet the increase in digital consumptions.

Robert Ingalls:               01:21                And on this first episode, I am happy to feature our first guest, Mr. Tom Petrelli. Tom is a divorce and family law lawyer with Petrelli Previtera, with offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Illinois. Tom is also the CEO of Divorce Done Right and the founder of Tom is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, the district of Columbia and the US district courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Tom will have been practicing law for 20 years next year, and I am thrilled to have him here. Tom, how are you today?

Tom Petrelli:                 01:57                I’m great. How are you?

Robert Ingalls:               01:59                I’m lovely. I really appreciate you taking some time from this vacation that we’re all on to spend a little time with us. I know that you’re at home and I’m at home and I know a lot of our colleagues are at home right now. One thing I will say to listeners is I know both me and Tom have young children about, so there’s a really good chance you may get introduced to them at some point during this podcast. So, you’re welcome in advance.

Tom Petrelli:                 02:24                That’s true.

Robert Ingalls:               02:25                Well, Tom, it’s been really good to be introduced to you recently. My friend, Eric, the national director of sales at BigSquare and his team, they speak extremely highly of you. Eric and I got introduced over the last few months. We’ve had a lot of conversations. He told me a little bit about you and your firm. And as we talked about putting this podcast together, we realized it made a lot of sense to have someone like you on the podcast. Thanks so much for taking that time out for us.

Tom Petrelli:                 02:51                Not a problem.

Robert Ingalls:               02:52                So, what did it look like for you on day one? When it got real, that moment when we started to realize that this was actually going to impact our day-to-day lives? What did that look like at your firm?

Tom Petrelli:                 03:03                So, we were talking about it for about two weeks before it actually happened, so we were slightly prepared, but you can’t be totally prepared. We have been quasi cloud-based for quite some time, which really, if I can back up a second, I can tell how that happened. Back in 2010, wanted to be able to spend a lot of time in Florida and I didn’t want to be tied to my office. So, I started looking at the cloud solutions and I started moving everything we had into the cloud, which wasn’t really prevalent back then. So, back then I was using things like Google Remote Desktop, and Apple’s Back to my Mac just so I can log into my computer desktop from wherever I was. And it was barely effective back then.

Tom Petrelli:                 03:43                And then, about two years after that, I decided we were going to go to Mexico for three months and I was going to take off three months and still work, but work remotely from Mexico so we can have our son down there. So, we did that and that was an experience in itself because Mexico is completely at that time backwards when it came to internet and speed and trying to maintain any type of continuity with the home office. It was like going back to 1999 when AOL was prevalent. So, it was a learning experience, but we made it work. So, luckily I had a friend down there who was able to hook me up with someone who gave me their fastest speed. So, we used that for quite some time. I had a VoIP phone, and I had Apple AirPort, and that was basically my setup when I was down there.

Tom Petrelli:                 04:29                And I learned I couldn’t do two things at once. I couldn’t talk on the phone and use my computer, or we couldn’t watch Apple TV and use the phone. It would just completely cut out. That was my first go around with being cloud-based and being remote. But getting back to how we responded, right? So, what did we do on day one? Well, we started inventorying who had computers, that was the first thing we did. We’ll see who had computers at home, and then we surveyed internet speeds because I felt like that was pretty important. At least for us, we all had satisfactory set-ups for the most part. The only employee who didn’t was our receptionist, and upon hearing that it would be a 14-day maybe layoff so to speak because the city was going to close us down for 14 days, she volunteered to take two weeks of PTO that she had saved up and she just disappeared. We haven’t heard from her since.

Tom Petrelli:                 05:18                So, the employees who didn’t have any type of set-up at home or computers, we basically just said, “You can take your desktop home.” It wasn’t a big deal. So, the only part that was really disappointing for me was the phone service itself. We use RingCentral and they have an app and they basically sell a service that says, “Hey, you can use this from anywhere. We’re completely cloud-based.” And they are for the most part, but when you get into complex phone systems like we have, with cues and different call trees, they don’t work. So, I spent close to three days on the phone with India, trying to figure out how to make it work, only to throw in the towel on the last day. We were supposed to be closed and I was in there just trying to make it work.

Tom Petrelli:                 05:59                And my wife was like, “What are you doing in the office? The mayor said you have to stay home.” And I was like, “I need to get this working,” because we have an intake team that had to get phone calls and we could make it work for the first person, but it wouldn’t roll over to the next on their phones. It would just disappear or go to the answering service, and that wasn’t going to work for us. So, it was experience.

Robert Ingalls:               06:18                Yeah. When I had my law office, I was using a similar thing that was called 8×8. And that was the same problem we ran into is it would work fine at the office when we had the phones, but when we tried to use that mobile app, those voiceover IPs can be a little challenging.

Tom Petrelli:                 06:32                Yeah. It’s great when it works, right? If you want to say it to a single person it’s no big deal, but when we have multiple people and it’s supposed to follow a call queue and say, if this person is busy or doesn’t answer, go to the next person. You expect it to ring the app as well, but it didn’t.

Robert Ingalls:               06:46                Right.

Tom Petrelli:                 06:46                So, it didn’t really work out. So, that was probably the biggest challenge we had on that first day.

Robert Ingalls:               06:52                So, what other tools did you have in place initially or do you have in place now that is helping you manage this?

Tom Petrelli:                 07:00                Sure. As I said already, we use RingCentral for the phones. So, that was in place and that was supposed to be cloud-based and it is so to speak. We’ve been using since it first came out. And I think back in 2010, I started using, and we house all our documents there. Everything we do is in Box. We use Clio for our case management software. Clio has been great. We use BigSquare for our data analytics, our business intelligence. We use Zoho CRM for our intake service. So, our intake team uses Zoho and that’s all cloud-based. All our systems have been cloud-based for quite some time, so nothing has been new. We use Slack. We’ve been set up to work remotely anyway, because we have one main office in Philadelphia and then we have many other small offices where we might have six people working in Princeton. There are two people working in Norristown, one person working in Linwood, New Jersey. And having team meetings all at the same time, weekly forced us into a situation where we would use all these cloud based systems. So, we’re used to it, it was just a matter of who could be used to working from home and how productive can you be at home? That’s what it came down to.

Robert Ingalls:               08:10                That’s certainly the hard part. Now, you rattled off a lot of different services. Can you take me through what some of those are, for the person who’s listening who doesn’t have their from virtual or in the cloud in any way? Can you give me a brief explanation of what those services are and how you’re using them?

Tom Petrelli:                 08:28                Sure. is a document repository for us. Basically, you can share documents. It’s like Google Docs. You can share anything you want. You can collaborate in the cloud, you can check things out, you can record versions that way. Everything can be done, it integrates with Microsoft office. It also integrates with I think Google Docs, Google Sheets, all those different things. It’s just an easy way of collaborating with your team from afar. So, Box integrates with Clio. So, we try to do as many different software packages to integrate as we possibly can, which is impossible in the long run, because the bigger you get and the more we scale things, the harder it becomes. But Box does integrate with Clio, so everybody can be basically in one software package and with the click of a button, it can be importing the documents right into Clio when you need them to send, but Box does have a lot of security. I think more so than Dropbox, they have different… We don’t use everything they have, but I know they have different tiers so that you can preserve documents for litigation and you can have it so that it won’t delete anything, everything’s saved somewhere else. So, it’s been very good for that.

Tom Petrelli:                 09:39                Clio is very good, too. So, Clio we use for our case management software and basically we have calendaring… Well, our calendars actually work through Google. We use Google suite for our email, for our calendars, for many different things. We use a backup document repository for when we have to share different things. It’s a little quicker than Box, Box is a little more clunky. Google, because it integrates with G-suite, is very quick. So, that actually integrates with our calendar on Clio, so we don’t use Clio’s calendaring, but we use it for everything else. We use our invoicing through Clio. We can monitor the clients, we can share it through the clients that way and secure, they have a Clio portal which we utilize a lot, so it all fits together. So, another piece of software that we use that’s been really helpful is BigSquare.

Tom Petrelli:                 10:26                BigSquare is our analytical business intelligence software, which we use on a daily basis to monitor on a week by week basis how much the attorneys are billing, who has how much in their trust accounts, who has AR. And we have two parts of it that we use. We have the attorney portion and we have the management portion. The attorney portion shows them a dashboard where they can see what they need to do on a weekly basis. They can see who has money in the accounts, so they know who to bill on, who to work on and people that don’t, they need to pick up the phone or let our collections department know that they need to pick up the phone and contact the client to replenish their accounts. So, this kind of lets the attorneys self-manage and we look at it from a higher perspective of the management side to get a bigger picture of what’s happening in the firm, and also to make sure that the attorneys are on track.

Tom Petrelli:                 11:16                One of the things I didn’t mention earlier that we use as far as keeping ourselves on task since we’ve been remote and we started to do this, but became more important over the past couple of weeks is’s great for project management, so we basically took a lot of what we used to do in the office, which we have quick little 15-minute meetings. We created boards on our Kanban boards that we have on and we move everything through and we use Zapier to create different types of zaps that would basically give a notification saying, “Dana’s finished with this part of the project. So now, Michael, you have to move on with this,” and so forth. That’s been mainly what I’ve been doing for the past a week and a half as I’ve been making sure those things are working and making sure the systems that we have, which we have…

Tom Petrelli:                 12:04                One of the things that was really hard to do, you have your automations that work in the office and get that and make it virtual. It seems like it should work in theory, but not everything worked as well and people didn’t know where to look. So, it’s just like herding cats, I’m trying to get like, “Okay, intake team, you have to be in this portion of Box,” and I had to create their own little section. And then, I had to say, “Okay, lawyers, you need to be in this section.” And I made their own little world or domain where they can share documents and see what’s going on. And these things, in the office it just happens fluidly, but when you’re not next to each other, it’s really hard. And then, you have to deal with people’s schedules, right? People have their families sitting right there, so people are called away from their computers. So, you have delays. So, it’s been interesting.

Robert Ingalls:               12:47                You’re speaking to my heart over here. I’m a big fan of the Kanban board. I use Trello for mine, but my entire practice runs with zaps. I’m building some kind of zap every day that automates a lot of that process.

Tom Petrelli:                 12:59                Yeah. That’s an amazing piece of software.

Robert Ingalls:               13:02                Yeah. I started using it in my law practice. So, naturally when I got into an even more technical practice, it’s become a big part of what I use. So yeah, I recommend that anybody who’s listening, who is having trouble with project management, Monday’s great. Trello’s good. Honestly, there’s a laundry list of different projects. Asana is another one, and we’ll make sure we link some of this stuff on the blog and in the show notes for you, if you want to check some of those out. So, a moment ago you talked about managing staff. What has been the biggest change there? Because I know everyone’s usually in the office, that’s the way most lawyers work. What has been the biggest challenge with managing everyone remotely?

Tom Petrelli:                 13:45                So, in the office, either myself or my COO, we’ll walk around and see what’s happening. You can hear, you can listen to what’s happening. You know there’s work being done, how it’s being done. At this point, it’s been very tough to understand that people are still doing the things they need to be doing. So, on Monday in particular, I’ve had to build a lot of boards and basically we created standup meetings. So, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we’ll have a standup meeting where people say, “This is the work I’m doing. This is how it’s going to be done.” We use Slack for this. We have a bot in Slack that actually sends a message out to the lawyers on a Monday and says, “Well, what do you expect to do this week? How many hours did you bill last week? How many hours do you think you’re going to bill this week? And what are the obstacles that are getting in your way of getting that done?” And that publishes to the group of attorneys, and I monitor that. And I look at that and I talk to each attorney individually, and I say, “Well, how can I help you get through these obstacles?” So, that’s been challenging.

Tom Petrelli:                 14:44                I do the same thing for staff. I just started this week. And for staff, I said they’re going to get the same thing on Wednesday, and staff have a lot more obstacles, obviously right now than the lawyers do, because they don’t have access to the fax. They don’t have access to the copier room, they don’t have access to a scanner, even. So, people are scanning on their iPhones, which has been incredible. People just take pictures and that’s considered a scan now. So, all these different pieces. The two weeks of planning, I wrote out what was going to happen but in actuality, it’s much more difficult than you imagine. But on the other hand, it has been way smoother than I thought would go too, because people want to work. People want to keep their jobs. So, I had to make sure that everybody knew that like, “Hey, your jobs are safe. No one’s getting laid off. We’ll get through this. It doesn’t matter if it’s two weeks or six months.” We can operate in the cloud. We’ve been operating in the cloud all along. It’s just you don’t realize it because you still physically come to the office.

Robert Ingalls:               15:40                Right.

Tom Petrelli:                 15:41                So, it’s changing the mindset of all the employees.

Robert Ingalls:               15:44                Yeah, and as much as we all love our families, I think we forget that sometimes work provides some needed respite.

Tom Petrelli:                 15:53                It really does. I would complain that I was always getting interrupted in the office. It’s nothing like being interrupted at home.

Robert Ingalls:               16:03                If I could count how many times I’ve been interrupted, I had to get Elsa’s hair out of a purse that it was zipped up in earlier. That was just one of the many things that I’ve been tasked today. We had eggs broken on the kitchen floor because she wanted to cook. So, there are the things that my coworkers, if I was in an office, wouldn’t normally be tasking me with.

Tom Petrelli:                 16:21                Right, and when you have a child at home, then your child sees you and they’re like, come play all day long.

Robert Ingalls:               16:27                Right, you’re here.

Tom Petrelli:                 16:28                You’re here, right.

Robert Ingalls:               16:28                Yeah.

Tom Petrelli:                 16:29                It’s such a change.

Robert Ingalls:               16:31                So, looping back to software because we were talking about managing teams. Are you doing any video conferencing with the team to keep everybody connected? And if so, what are you using?

Tom Petrelli:                 16:41                Yes. So, we’ve been using Zoom for close to a year and a half. And we use Zoom for our team meetings on a weekly basis before this happened, and now we use it more. We’ve always offered, for two and a half years now, video consultations. And they’ve been very slow to ramp up where people trust it. And about six months ago we we would go from one video consult a month to maybe four or five. And then now, everything’s video consult. And we’ve had that on our website for a long time, so we have had to advertise it, but we always offer to our clients that they became a client that, “Hey, you don’t have to come back into the city. We know it’s difficult to park. We know it’s expensive the park, and you’re coming from the suburbs, so you can do a video consultation or a video meeting with us and it should be no big deal.” And some clients still wouldn’t do it, but now everyone’s forced to, right?

Robert Ingalls:               17:31                Right.

Tom Petrelli:                 17:32                You have older people, people who are retired, who are now forced to use technology. The whole world’s shifted, it’s changed, right? The last time we had a major change was probably what, 9/11? There was some before 9/11 and the way we thought about things and it was after 9/11, and this is the same thing to me. It’s just a slower thing. 9/11 was bam, it happened one day. This is a slow burn, but there’s going to be a major change. People are going to change the way they interact with people. They’re going to change their behavior, how they work, and we’re all getting used to this and this is going to be the new norm. So, everyone’s going to be using Zoom or something like that.

Robert Ingalls:               18:07                I saw just a funny meme on Facebook, I think it was yesterday. It was Scooby Doo and gang tearing off the mask of the person responsible and it was Zoom under the mask. Just because they benefit so much from it. But no, I’m on the same page. We’ve been using zoom for years and I very much love it. So, have you talked to your team at all about combating isolation? I know we’re only a couple of weeks in, but is that something that your firm is thinking about, thinking about mental health at this point?

Tom Petrelli:                 18:34                So, we have. So, we’ve talked about doing work happy hours to try to keep people connected at least once a week and say, “Hey, we’re going to do a Friday happy hour or a Wednesday happy hour.” We used to do that in the office anyway. We’d all go out as a team. So, we’ve been really thinking about doing that. Have you done a virtual happy hour yet through Zoom?

Robert Ingalls:               18:53                I did one two days ago. I go to podcast conferences, so I’ve generated a lot of friends in those conferences. So, we just had one on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun.

Tom Petrelli:                 19:05                That’s great.

Robert Ingalls:               19:05                Honestly, too many people showed up. 18 people showed up and 18 people on a Zoom call is far too many to have too much going on. So, I’m going to try and cut it in half next time. So, when we’re using technology and we’re doing virtual things, to pivot here, one of the things I want to talk about is the risk associated with taking your practice virtual, with working from home. How is your firm managing and responding to these risks?

Tom Petrelli:                 19:32                So, this is something we actually talked about back in January at our beginning of the year meeting, and we were talking about how we can safeguard the client data, because there’s a huge risk to anything where it leaves your office confines, right? So, as soon as it goes outside of the office, you have no control over it. Well, we were talking to Citrix and we are an all-Mac, all-Apple computer based firm. And one of the things we ran into, because Citrix works as a virtual desktop, and VMware works that way too. They both have workspace virtual desktops. So, we contracted with Citrix and it’s still not rolled out yet. We didn’t finish it, unfortunately, before this happened. So, one of my major concerns is people sitting at home with all the client data, right? So, you’re using Box Sync and it’s taking all that data and it’s putting it on someone’s personal computer. But once that leaves our server, our box on the cloud, they have that data. There’s nothing we can do to take it back. So, now we have to trust that the lawyers and our employees do the right thing, which we know they’re supposed to do. That I think is one of the biggest security risks with cloud-based offices and being virtual. And this morning I had a phone call with Citrix, so hopefully that’ll be rolled out in the next week or so.

Robert Ingalls:               20:49                And I’m assuming you’ve had discussions with your team? When you move virtual and everything’s on the cloud, that device becomes your entire office. If you can practice from anywhere, you can have your information taken from anywhere. For me, when I was running my law practice, everything that existed in my law firm was on my phone. Where if someone got into my firm, they got into everything. And so, it was of paramount importance that every device be very secure. So, with my employees we talked about passwords and the importance of having unique passwords. And one of the things we moved into as a firm when I was practicing was password managers. Does your firm use any of those?

Tom Petrelli:                 21:26                So, we actually just signed a contract with Okta for single sign on, and Okta is going to be integrated with our Citrix workspace. So, all the passwords that all my… We use 20 different pieces of software, right? So, they each have 20 passwords. Well, I started policy last year where I force people every three months to change their passwords. So, we do that all the time as a practice, which drives me crazy too but I’m like, “Who implemented this stupid policy, because I don’t want to change my passwords either, but we have to.” And I’ll say to my CEO, I’m like, “Look at this, why are they resetting their passwords?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, it’s because I did that.”

Robert Ingalls:               22:06                The password manager is life-changing when it comes to that. You automatically change your passwords and you don’t have to stress about remembering them. You have to remember one sufficiently complex password instead of 20 different ones.

Tom Petrelli:                 22:17                Right. And that’s what the single sign on with Okta is going to have to do for us. The SSO thing is going to be a gamechanger, I think. And I think it’s really important. I just heard recently that not all of them are safe either, like Last Pass and I can’t remember the other one that was out there, it’s a major one. I heard they were just hacked recently.

Robert Ingalls:               22:35                Yeah. I didn’t hear that, but that tends to happen with the leading brands tend to be the ones that end up getting attacked.

Tom Petrelli:                 22:41                Dashlane, I think it’s called, the other one.

Robert Ingalls:               22:44                Okay. Now, have you modified your approach to marketing and new client acquisition? Is it too early to really think about that? There’s just this increased focus on digital content right now and I’m starting to see a lot of companies and firms starting to pivot their marketing to play to that.

Tom Petrelli:                 23:02                So, I looked at this from the angle of there’s lots of tactics you can do for marketing to try to react to different situations. And I thought everyone has a tactic out there, I wanted to strategize, what would be the best thing for me to do marketing-wise? And we’ve always been a digital forward firm, so I’ve actually gone the opposite direction since the pandemic. We’re so focused this year, every year we have a different focus for the firm and this year our focus was client experience. And we wanted to make sure that right now we’re sending the clients as much support and help as we possibly can. So, we called the clients to check in on them and we asked them if there’s any way we can support them right now. And some of them might need water, some of them might need delivery service, and if we can help them and they’re in the city and they’re close by, the attorneys have been basically given the go ahead to help them. So, I think actually going out of our way to help anybody, rather than just looking for ways to market, because if we help the people, the people are going to take care of us.

Tom Petrelli:                 23:59                And I think as thought leaders and leaders in the community, we want to try to wrap our arms around the community as much as possible. So, my philosophy since this happened is I want to take care of my employees. Their jobs are secure. They don’t have to worry about anything. And if I take care of my employees, they’re going to take care of my clients and they’re going to have the ability, if they feel safe, they’re going to make the clients feel safe and give them whatever they need. And then, once this is done, I think our clients, they’re going to rave about us. They’re going to know that we’re not just about fulfilling a service, we actually care and we want to support the clients. And once we do that, I think they’ll take care of the business in the end. I think it’s a cycle. It’s a full circle cycle. You can draw the arrows from point to point around. So, I think there’s lots of marketing tactics out there and yes, we’re doing those things, but I’m looking at the bigger picture about how we can come out at the end with a bigger community than when we started.

Robert Ingalls:               24:53                Yeah. I like that, building community.

Tom Petrelli:                 24:55                Yeah.

Robert Ingalls:               24:56                Now, we’ve been talking predominantly about how you manage the business through the crisis. Do you have any tips you’re employing personally to manage all the competing problems of life that have also taken on additional layers of complexity? On my side, we’re thinking a lot about sleep, exercise, clean eating, because it’s so easy to eat pizza every day at this moment. I’m getting back into meditation. That was one that fell by the wayside because we were talking earlier about the kids in our years and just life has a lot of complexity at the moment. That’s something that’s been helping me out a lot. One of the points of this podcast I wanted to use is helping people get through these moments. So, what are you using, what are you doing?

Tom Petrelli:                 25:39                So, you just have to be focused on the fact that you can’t get done as much as you used to be able to get done in the office. Just understanding that if you can get done, but pick the 20% of the things that you would do in the office that got 80% of the results. I think that’s the best mindset you can have. And just knowing that it won’t happen every day. I think being at home is a much more difficult chore than actually being in the office and where you have peace and quiet, so to speak. The office seems like it has much more serenity than a home. So, I think just having realistic expectations and not trying to do too much and just taking it day by day and keeping a positive attitude is the only way that you’re going through this.

Robert Ingalls:               26:21                Yeah. The difference that I really see is at the office, everyone has the same goal. Everyone’s marching in the same direction.

Tom Petrelli:                 26:27                Right.

Robert Ingalls:               26:27                At home, that’s a little bit more chaos.

Tom Petrelli:                 26:30                Right. And just don’t be the guy running out to the store and buying all the toilet paper.

Robert Ingalls:               26:33                I don’t know who those people are, and I don’t know why it started. I’d really like a breakdown on where that all started, because I don’t know. We haven’t bought any toilet paper since this started and I think we’re good for months, maybe.

Tom Petrelli:                 26:45                You bought the toilet paper in advance.

Robert Ingalls:               26:47                Well, I don’t know. I’m not sure what the plan is here. Maybe it started out with people thinking, “Oh, it’s the flu. And I know what happens when I get the flu. I better get some toilet paper just in case?” I don’t know, but then it just carried on.

Tom Petrelli:                 27:00                Right.

Robert Ingalls:               27:00                Hey, more power to them. Well, I don’t want to take all your time today, but I really appreciate you taking some time out for us and the kids. I really appreciate them on both of our sides for not harassing us during this call.

Tom Petrelli:                 27:13                I know, I can’t believe they stayed away.

Robert Ingalls:               27:16                Thanks, kids. Well, if anybody wanted to connect with you and your firm, how can they find you?

Tom Petrelli:                 27:21                If anyone’s looking for me, they can contact me at my email address. It’s my last name, first initial. So, it’s

Robert Ingalls:               27:38                All right, love it, and I will put that in the blog and on the show notes as well. Well, thanks so much, Tom, I really appreciate it.

Tom Petrelli:                 27:44                I really appreciate having me on here.

Outro:                          27:45                Thanks for joining us. For resources from the episode, go to the show notes in your podcast player or visit Do you know someone who’s staying on top that should be a guest on the show? Submit their name to Stay safe, stay healthy and stay profitable.

3 comments on “How to Take Your Law Firm Virtual During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Tom Petrelli

  1. Thank you for sharing your mix of key tools and services Tom.

    I’m sorry you both had trouble with your VoIP services from RingCentral and 8×8. Your VoIP service should have migrated easily to remote work. Staying late at the office (during COVID-19), to try to make this work, is stressful and a waste of time.

    Corvum’s VoIP service ( was designed for lawyers and has a first class integration with Clio ( We feel strongly that lawyers need to the right kind of support so that they can focus on practicing law, not stuck on technical support calls.

    We have a free trial and coupons for discounted service. Please feel free to reach out!


    1. lawpods says:

      Hey Graham! Thanks for tuning in. I’ll give Corvum a look and be sure to include it in my future podcast discussions and CLE presentations.

      Robert Ingalls

  2. Yes! Finally something about keyword1.|

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