By Ally Kennedy, Founder of AMIGA
The current news of the ICE raids is sweeping the nation and leaving many undocumented people in extreme fear. Those of us who serve the Latino community (the targets of the raids) are likely receiving high numbers of calls, emails, and engagement through social media from people trying to understand how to protect themselves and legalize their statuses.
This is an important time to use the means available to us as advocates to inform our clients and our Ideal Clients about their rights. Right now, everyone is listening. The community wants a place to hear the latest information, and that place should be you. You are an expert. You have the knowledge. You know how to explain what is happening and what people can do. You have the best information and can clarify points that unnamed-Spanish-speaking-programs get wrong.
Here are some tips on how to handle the fall-out of the raids in your practice:
1. Manage Your Phones Efficiently
Phones are ringing off the hook from current and potential clients who want to know if they are in danger of being a victim of these raids. Staff and solos with no staff may feel overwhelmed by the number of calls that are coming in and the time that it takes to appropriately handle each call. This may be a time to contract, even for a short period, a backup answering service or additional receptionist so that they can handle the calls coming in.
Additionally, it is a good time to call every client who could possibly fear that she is in danger of being picked up in the raids. Carve out an hour a day for yourself or a staff member to call all current clients to give them a status update, explain why you believe that they are or or not a priority for removal, inform them of their rights, and check in about any additional questions or concerns. It is important that our clients know that we are here for them and care about their cases.
2. Solidify Your Brand
This is a unique opportunity from a business perspective because you have the tools to be able to solidify your brand and your market. By using the free tools of YouTube and Facebook, you can (1) keep the community informed about the latest news with the raids, (2) inform the community about their rights, and (3) become known as a lawyer who has the knowledge and compassion that your Ideal Clients need in the event something unfortunate happens during these raids.
The two best ways to leverage Facebook and YouTube are by sharing informative tiles and graphics and by making videos. Videos and pictures that explain Constitutional Rights and how undocumented immigrants can handle situations like ICE knocking on their doors will be passed around and shared all over the internet. If these videos and pictures originate from you and your firm, it helps earn the trust of the community for you and your brand.
3. Create a Process for Social Media
If you are engaging with your audience on social media, you are likely receiving many messages with people asking questions about the raids, explaining their cases, and wanting to know if they qualify for relief. Each question through social media is a question from a potential client. You must create a procedure to respond to these messages in the way that you have for answering the phones. The easiest way to do so is to create a template or script respond to the inquiries. For example:
"Thank you so much for contacting, LAW FIRM NAME. Thank you for sharing some of the details of your current immigration situation. Your case is important to me and I want to give it the time and consideration that it deserves. That being said, it is best that we schedule a formal consultation so we can discuss your case in depth to ensure that we find any and all legal remedies available to you. A consultation is scheduled for one hour and costs $200.00. If there is something that we can do in your case and you decide to hire us within 30 days, those $200 are applied as a discount to the total cost. You can give us a call at __________________ to schedule an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you!"
We all care so deeply for the issue of protecting families and preserving the rights of the undocumented, and it is important to manage social media in a way that is consistent with your brand and that supports your firm.
4. Offer an Outlet for Free Advice
There has never been a better time to "hit the streets" to speak directly to the people who need our help. Passing out free advice on every phone call will drain your most precious resource: time. Thus, if you create an outlet to give free advice to people who need it, you can not only promote it to the community, you can also refer all callers who do not want to pay for a consultation to that event so that they can ask their important questions.
Here are a few ideas, though feel free to get creative.
- Free walk-in clinic at your office. Schedule it for 2 hours on a certain day keeping in mind that Sunday evenings are the best times. You can promote the clinic through social media so that people can spread the word.
- Offer a free conference call. In essence, it works like a radio show. People call in and ask questions but if there is something detailed or complicated that would require a longer conversation, you can direct them to call your office for a formal consultation.
- Speak on the radio. Contact the local station that offers programing in the language of your clients and ask to come on to speak about the raids and inform people of how to exercise their Constitutional rights.
It is important to capture the contact information for everyone to whom you speak who could have a potential case. Within 48 hours of the clinic or conference call, follow up with them to see how you can support them in continuing with their cases.
How have you been handling the raids in your office? Leave us your pointers below!
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.