Tanking stock markets, masked citizens across the globe, self- or imposed- isolation moves and more . . but how are law firms handling the global coronavirus?
Most firms are taking steps involving the postponement or cancellation of events and deferring or cancelling international travel as the virus spreads across the globe.
Orricks for instanced also cancelled a partner retreat and along with other firms like Reed Smith reports indicate have also cancelled trips to China for staff.
Duane Morris has cancelled a meeting of its Asian partners, same too with other pending meetings among major firms with Asian offices.
In China, the ‘founder’ of the deadly virus, it’s crisis management all round. International firms in China are taking a variety of steps to protect their staff including reimbursing taxis for staff to avoid them taking public transport, stepping up cleaning efforts and distributing masks.
“[T]his could be bad. It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
In Italy, Europe’s coronavirus-central at present, firms are either closing their meeting room doors, as some have in Milan, the closest to the infected ‘zone’, or encouraging lawyers to work remotely.
RollonFriday reports that Baker + McKenzie have shut their London office last Thursday after a returning employee from Italy was suspected of infection.
”We have a well-established agile working programme – including sophisticated technology and IT systems for home working – which allows us to take these precautionary measures without impacting our client service delivery.”Statement from Baker + McKenzie
Firms everywhere are in full coronavirus prevention mode with procedures being put into place to both protect their staff and rehearse contingency planning, as well as advising their clients to do the same with a variety of reports and advisory briefs being sent to clients from firms.
Similarly, major events like the big property meet-up at MIPIM is seeing law firms preparing to pull out of the event, according to The Lawyer report.