Coping With A Pandemic: LegalShield's Jeff Bell

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Law360 (May 7, 2020, 12:02 PM EDT) --
Jeff Bell
Jeff Bell
As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community.

Today's perspective comes from Ada, Oklahoma-based Jeff Bell, CEO of legal and privacy protection plan provider LegalShield.

What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?

We run three internal and two external call centers. We have transitioned more than 80% of our workforce to work from home.

In addition, we were extremely lucky because we had just launched a new operating software platform for our law firms and lawyers, and it empowered them to work from home. It is now enabling our 7,000-plus lawyers to work from home and serve our 4.4 million covered individuals during this pandemic.

How are you and your family adapting at home?

My wife and I have three sons. One is with his wife in London, another working in Idaho, and our youngest left New York City just before things got ugly and is working remotely for the consulting company he serves. We also foster cats and kittens, which keeps us busy.

One definite advantage we have at LegalShield is that our top 26 leaders have been running the company virtually for over five years. Eight of our leaders live in Ada, our corporate headquarters, but the rest of our team live wherever they choose — Seattle, New York, Detroit, Denver, Jacksonville — and we travel as needed. So working virtually and using Zoom is not a big deal for us.

What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you've witnessed so far?

We are very proud of the Coronavirus Legal Resource Center. We update it daily with real questions from our members to our law firms with general information on the topic. We have also employed virtual notary services where permitted by states (and all should in my opinion) for medical directives and other estate documents.

But maybe I'm most proud that we still managed to hold our spring convention in April. Typically, it is a four-day event in Dallas with approximately 5,000 participants making the trip. Since the pandemic ruled out such a large gathering, we immediately decided to do a virtual convention, building an office studio in Ada and shortening to two days.

Guess what? Attendance spiked to 13,000 and, incredibly, people are still watching it! I can tell you that live-streaming will be a big part of LegalShield's future. What our experience, of course, means for the world of conventions, trade shows and corporate offsites is another question.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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