How Eastwood & Associates Have Adapted to Practicing During COVID-19

People rely on having access to legal services but delivering them has become complicated. While new guidelines and procedures delivered by law societies, government, and other legal authorities help, it’s still up to law offices to implement them in a way that best meets their clients’ needs.

We were impressed to learn about the innovative ways some of our customers have quickly adapted their law office environment and keep servicing their clients. We asked for their consent, and thanks to their generosity in wanting to help their fellow practitioners in the legal community, we would like to share some of their newfound best practices and insights with all our valued customers.

The first in our customer series comes from John Eastwood, Notary Public and owner of Eastwood and Associates in Delta, BC. He shared with us his office’s creative approach to delivering their services while maintaining a safe distance that protects both staff and clients.

Until recently, Eastwood and Associates remained open but kept the office doors locked except for existing clients who needed an appointment to deal with urgent matters. In mid-March, new guidelines were released allowing the use of video conferences for the witnessing and signing of affidavits for LTO purposes. To take advantage of those new guidelines, Eastwood and Associates decided to use Zoom, a popular video conferencing platform.

While this worked for some of their clients, many others were older and unfamiliar with the technology. It was Eastwood’s daughter, Lisa Eastwood, who came up with a creative solution to serve those clients while maintaining a safe, social distance.

The office’s heated front sun porch is now a client signing area. Clients sit at a table on the porch which abuts the window of her office. The window is opened about 6” to allow for conversation while maintaining a physical barrier. Each side has their own set of documents and pens, and pass signed documents back. Everything is sanitized immediately following the end of the client’s appointment.

According to John, “It is working extremely well. Clients are very comfortable having their own safe space while meeting with us and adhering to distancing requirements.” John’s staff is also happy with the arrangement which allows only the same group of coworkers inside the office. The ‘walk-up window service’ is working even better than expected. Since implementing this ingenious system, the office has been able to take appointments for all legal services once again.

Eastwood & Associates also had their first video signing of sale documents just a few days ago, which went smoothly with the benefit of a client who was familiar with video meetings.  They also conduct appointments by telephone to take instructions for their estate planning area of practice and emails draft documents before meeting to sign final documents.

Lisa Eastwood’s new signing area for clients uncomfortable with video conferencing. Although the window is wide open for the photo to avoid glare, in practice it is only opened about 6” to allow for conversation while maintaining a physical barrier.

How are you and your staff coping with the new social distancing restrictions? Click here to send us your story and we will do our best to add it to our customer series. Let’s all learn from one another and be stronger together.

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