Meredith Connell to keep offices open amid coronavirus crisis

Firm says its Auckland and Wellington premises will be deep cleaned at least weekly

Meredith Connell to keep offices open amid coronavirus crisis

Meredith Connell will keep its offices open during the duration of the coronavirus crisis, even as most of its staff will work remotely.

The firm said that it has decided to keep its offices in Auckland and Wellington operational amid the COVID-19 pandemic because it expects an increase in demand for some legal services among its private- and public-sector clients.

It also has additional responsibility to maintain its services for the duration of the crisis because the firm is the Office of the Crown Solicitor at Auckland. That means that the firm plays a role in preserving public health and public order, it said.

“Meredith Connell’s objective for the weeks and months ahead is to provide our clients, the Crown and the community with an uninterrupted and unchanged service as they grapple with their business-as-usual and additional legal needs in these difficult times,” said Kylie Mooney, Meredith Connell chief executive. “This includes all our services from commercial law and major transactions, to employment dispute resolution and regulatory compliance, to criminal prosecution and securing the proceeds of crimes for the state.”

About 70 of the firm’s staff will work remotely, however, as the crisis continues. Meredith Connell said that it successfully trialled its remote working plan (RWP) on Wednesday. All of its lawyers worked the full day on client matters either at home, in court, or elsewhere and the firm recorded no IT or other interruptions. No clients were also aware of the arrangements, the firm said.

“Given the overwhelming success of our trial, we’ve decided today to indefinitely implement our RWP from Monday 23 March,” Mooney said.

The 30% of staff members that will work in the Meredith Connell offices will need approval to do so from management. The small number of staff ensure that there is significant social distancing at the firm’s offices, it said. The firm will also periodically clean its premises.

“As well as other precautions that have been well advertising by government and in the media, MC’s entire premises will be deep cleaned at least weekly,” it said.

Mooney said that the firm’s priority in the coming weeks and months continues to be the health and welfare of its team.

“Very close behind is to provide an uninterrupted and unchanged service to our clients and the Crown, which is the best way we can ensure that they and we come through this situation unscathed and in the strongest possible position once it is over, however long that takes,” she said.

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