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Michigan Lawyers Weekly Talked to Law Firm Leaders, Including Vince Colella of Moss & Colella, on Connecting With Staff While Working Remotely.

April 16, 2020

Engagement, connection help firms weather COVID-19 crisis

Frequent communication, light-hearted approach boost team morale

Due to COVID-19 and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, business plans have changed, law firm goals have shifted to accommodate the new state of affairs, and there’s no clear end in sight. It’s no surprise that clients are feeling anxious.

Law firms large and small recognize these feelings are hitting close to home, too, and are taking steps to ensure that their attorneys and staff are being taken care of as well.

A variety of methods to keep staff healthy, either physically through social distancing or mentally through frequent check-ins, are being deployed.

The good news? Firms report that attorneys and staff have risen to the occasion to support each other, and their communities at large.

Miller Canfield’s Detroit Resident Director Joseph Vernon reports that morale has been surprisingly upbeat.

“Our attorneys and staff recognize that we’re in this together, and I’m proud of the way we’ve embraced the challenges as a firm and helped each other,” he said. “That spirit has extended to our clients and the greater community. We recently partnered with a number of other national firms to provide pro bono assistance to help small businesses survive the economic impact of COVID-19.”

Terry Bonnette of Nemeth Law PC in Detroit said the firm provides encouragement by expressing gratitude and appreciation more frequently.

“The message we’re sending to our team is we’re extremely proud of how everyone has adapted quickly, and the level of productivity being demonstrated,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that we’re able to work together as a team regardless of the obstacles that we have to overcome.”

A. Vince Colella of Moss & Colella PC in Southfield has a tight-knit staff and said that, when a crisis like this hits, they’re set up to deal with it.

“We showed our staff right off the bat that we are investing in them so they could continue to operate. I lined out a protocol, and I think my staff responded well to that,” he said. “They didn’t see someone in a leadership role at the firm panicking, which I think was the most important thing under the circumstances.”

Staying connected

Staff can feel increasingly isolated or disconnected when working remotely. They may be dealing with monetary worries, loneliness, fear of a job loss, or that they or a loved one will fall ill with the coronavirus.

While methods may vary, firms agree that frequent communication is crucial.

Soni Mithani, resident director in Miller Canfield’s Ann Arbor office, holds weekly half-hour Skype calls with all Ann Arbor office residents to give updates, answer questions people may have, and provide a forum where others can share experiences or vent frustrations.

“It’s a great way for many of us to stay connected and to replace the daily banter we’re used to engaging in at the office when we’re there in person,” she said. “It’s the virtual equivalent of ‘water cooler’ conversations. We share photos of our pets, recipes, songs on our playlists, shows we have been streaming, along with a daily joke and a daily trivia question. This communication has also facilitated discussions about how best to navigate day-to-day errands that we might have to manage while obeying a stay-at-home order.”

This connectivity is not just for attorneys. Miller Canfield’s Ann Arbor Office Manager Ronda Harris holds weekly meetings with staff and legal assistants to discuss issues or concerns, and checks in with the team regularly via email.

Colella lets his team know he has a virtual open door policy: if there’s a question or a concern, he is a phone call away for more than business matters.

“From a personal standpoint, I start conversations with my staff with ‘How are you feeling? How’s your family?’ It’s not to pry, but to let them know I’ve got their back,” he said. “That connection can get lost working remotely. Calls tend to be business-heavy, and you should be able to have social chit chat.”

Michael Morse, of Mike Morse Law Firm in Southfield, notes that his firm hosts meetings and daily huddles.

“I am requiring all teams to meet weekly if not more, all by video. This is not optional,” he said. “I want them to still feel connected to each other. I am suggesting daily huddles for 10 minutes a day, also by video, and I am asking my executive team to be on the video calls to see how everyone is holding up.”

Bonnette said it’s easy to get disengaged by relying on texts and emails so he encourages direct communication either by phone or videoconferencing, adding that meetings are now a bit more relaxed.

“We still have an agenda, but we try to have fun with reminders: you don’t have to be in a suit and tie, but no pajamas please,” he said. “Beyond the everyday pragmatics, we’ve tried to do things to lighten the mood a bit. We took pictures of our pets, who are our new co-workers or supervisors. We had so much fun with it we sent it out to our clients as one of our daily newsletters. It cheered everybody up.”

Vernon noted that staff and attorneys on the 24th floor of the firm’s Detroit office started virtual “water cooler” calls to help recreate the everyday interactions that get lost in a remote environment.

“It can be difficult to replicate these on a videoconference, but we find it helpful to do a virtual ‘walk’ around the floor and poke our heads into each cubicle and office,” he explained. “Yes, business-related discussions are important, but we also want to know how your family is doing, how you’re coping with any little ones, and how else your life has been impacted. We’ve even sung for birthdays.”

Showing support

Morse said he won’t make “short-term, panic-driven decisions” about laying people off, or cutting pay drastically to make short-term gains.

“What can you do for your employees? You can support them, love them, and find a way to keep them employed,” he said. “I am waiving my 2020 salary to make this happen. I am looking at the vision of the company and the goals we set for 2020 and trying to keep them on track. I know we will get through this.”

Colella made clear to his team that they would remain intact, and weather the storm together.

“That was the baseline: everyone would know that we weren’t laying people off,” he said. “We’re going to be doing business differently, but it will be done with the same quality as before. We’re investing resources into our staff to give them some level of comfort.”

Moreover, he wants his staff to know that he’s making a commitment to them, not just to get through this time, but to help with their future growth.

“I told my lawyers that if they have any ‘free time,’ I want them to take advantage of expanding their legal education and sharpening their skills,” he explained. “If that means attending a webinar or taking a seminar, do it and I’ll pay for it. I want them to know we’re in it for the long haul and they’re safe.”

If you would like to comment on this story, email Kelly Caplan at

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Client Testimonials

I HIGHLY recommend David Moss; he exceeded my expectations numerous times, and I feel fortunate and blessed to have worked with him and his team. Moss & Colella attorneys have relentless perseverance and dedication for everyone they represent.
If this firm takes your case, it's in exceptionally experienced hands. The hands of attorneys who care about your well-being and the outcome of your litigation!
When I got into a car accident, my life changed. David and Ryan understood how this change affected my livelihood and mobility. They handled my case professionally, and I couldn't be more thankful for all of the sincere guidance and help provided throughout this process.
Thanks so much for everything!!!

The Burls


 I was referred to Moss & Colella in 2018 following a car accident. I cannot tell you how confident and safe I felt knowing that I was in good hands. David, and Ryan made sure that I always had any questions or concerns addressed in a timely manner. I appreciated their compassion, and understanding as I got emotional, and the reassurance they provided, made me feel important and valued as a client. If you need a great lawyer for an injury, this is your firm! I hope I never need to be in a position where I’d need their help again, but if I did, I’d gladly seek their services!

T. Ray


My son sadly passed after a vehicle accident, it was a hard case. Mr. Moss was our lawyer, he was very helpful, very informative, very up front and put alot of effort into this case. He’s a great man, a honest man and his law firm will do the best with any case brought to them. Everyone at his office was very kind and very helpful. I absolutely recommend them for any of your lawsuit needs.
Very grateful for this firm!

S. Collins


Words can not express how grateful I am for the outcome of this case. It was truly a blessing to have this resolved sooner than expected. But without your help and my faith in your firm along with my faith on God, this may not have been possible. I appreciate everything you have done in orchestrating everything to this resolve, for your time and effort meant the world to me. I thank my friend for putting me in touch with such a talented group of people. You will always be considered my attorneys of choice for anything that comes up in the future that would render your services. This year has definitely been many blessings so far and I welcome many more to come. Thank you again for everything and may you continue to be blessed.


Mother of Client

Very few people on this earth impress me. You are one of the very few. My family and I thank you for all you did. You are a good man!



Other law firms would not take my case, they said it was too complicated. But David Moss took my case and got the result I was looking for in almost no time at all. I’m glad I didn’t listen to those other lawyers.



I just wanted to thank you for putting your time and effort into my case. You did a wonderful job last Thursday. You are what people say you are, a wonderful lawyer.



I do not only count on you as one bad ass lawyer, but also a friend. None of this would be possible without you. My deepest gratitude to you and all of the Moss & Colella team.



I am very relieved and very happy with the outcome. I appreciate everything you and your firm did to see this through and I will be grateful for that always. You all came highly recommended and now I see why based on what you did in helping my son through a very challenging moment in his life. We will always be your fans:) Thank you again and may you always be Blessed…


Mother of Client

Moss & Colella PC goes above and beyond, and then some, to get the results you need and deserve! Since my accident in 2021, in which I broke several bones and am not able to work anymore, my vehicle insurance company dropped the ball. They not only tried to discredit me, but also have been trying to screw me out of what was owed to me. Thank you to David and the whole team for putting their all into my case, I got more than I expected! I am so overwhelmed and appreciative by what they have done for me!



Thanks for another great Colella in Context, Vince. You are helping all of us by taking the time to write your thoughtful column.



Attorney David Moss was referred to me after my car accident, I really did not know what to expect. I met with him and he explained the process well. His office helped me get compensation for missing work because of the accident. He was able to get compensation for my caregiver. He also was able to get all my medical bills from the accident paid by the insurance company. And finally he was able to get me much more from the insurance company than their first offer. He and his staff are professionals. I highly recommend Moss & Colella Law Firm. The other law firms say “they will fight for you”, no Attorney Moss will fight for you. Give his office a call and let them handle your case.

Dana Darby


I was referred to Moss & Colella PC after the accident I was in. I could not have made a better choice. From the initial conversation I had with Mr. Moss about taking legal action, to the day I received my settlement, Mr. Moss and his team worked diligently and were adamant about getting what was deserved, keeping me informed each step of the way. What I respect the most about this firm is they are straight up with you about what is going on and what the best options are for you. Thank you to David, Ryan, Kelly, Janice and anyone else who had a part in getting this done.

Dame Mitchell


Best choice I ever made going with Moss & Colella. Vince and Wendy were always there for me from start to finish I love you guys and your firm. I highly recommend this firm. Vince and Wendy are smart, sharp and caring people. God bless you guys and your firm thanks for everything

John Bahoura


I was referred to David and I could never be happier!! I had NO Idea how my case would go or if I even had a case.  David was so STRAIGHT UP with me with the process and how things may go and I can honestly say I appreciated that the MOST. The entire staff made me feel so comfortable, they took care of business! I really appreciate you David!!

Breeana Coe


Attorney David Moss, Ryan, and their assistant Kelly were all AMAZING. They were incredible understanding and patient with me and my family. It was like they knew EVERYTHING  we were going through. They were all right by our side going though and explaining every detail. When this ordeal started I ask someone if they knew of a pit bull that would be able to help us. I am so so glad I was referred to Attorney David Moss.

Thomas Hale


I am very pleased with my experience with Moss & Colella, P.C.  The professionalism, and keeping you informed about every detail that took place were outstanding I could not have picked no one better to handle my case I would give them the highest grade that you possibly could give an attorneys office I am very satisfied with how my case was handled

Earl Moore


The firm of Moss & Colella was wonderful they kept me and my family well informed and constantly gave updates in our challenging legal matter. Kept their word and didn't promise anything they couldn't deliver. I would highly recommend this firm for their personal service and depth of legal knowledge which was a win for my family and helped me feel at ease during a tragic time. Thank you. David Moss Great job. Have a great future. Highly recommended law firm

George Baird


The best staff and always on top of everything. They stay in contact with updates and work hard and fast to hep you in every way. Thanks to all that worked on my case love you all.

Brian L


David Moss and the Moss &  Colella team were awesome! I would recommend them to anyone

Lisette Montry


This is a Top-notch Firm.. They explained my options every step of the way. I would recommend them to my closest family and friends.

Greg Sawmiller


Excellent service very professional fully satisfied

Sterling Crutcher


My experience with this law firm has been excellent. They work hard around-the-clock to solve your situation. I was suggest anyone that needed a lawyer whatever situation to contact them.

Deanne Freenan


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About the Firm

The attorneys of Moss & Colella have carefully chosen their career paths to fight for those that have suffered from injury and wrongful death. We believe every citizen should have the right to hire the best lawyer who will actively advocate for their case.

David Moss and Vince Colella have over 60 collective years of personal injury trial experience that provides you a level of legal services and success unmatched by other firms. By working together, we have the ability to find creative, effective, and efficient solutions to even the most complex cases. No matter what situation you face, we will help you get through it.

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