More law firms go remote to face virus challenge

Firms reassure clients that teams are set up to work remotely

More law firms go remote to face virus challenge

More firms have switched to remote working amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Anthony Harper closed its Auckland and Christchurch offices on Tuesday, saying that the firm takes the guidelines and policies put in place by the government, which included putting the country on COVID-19 alert level 4.

Anthony Harper said that it is trying to be agile and responsive to the needs and wellbeing of all clients and staff, assuring its teams are set up to work from home and that matters will still be dealt with at the high standard that has come to be expected from the firm.

“This is a challenging situation for everyone and we are continuing with our client work as usual. We are confident that the measures that we have put in place best protect our clients and staff whilst still allowing us to work collaboratively and meet objectives. Our working group will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and adapt our responses accordingly,” CEO Lisa Jacobs said.

Duncan Cotterill also closed its offices on Wednesday, saying that it will play its part in limiting the spread of the virus.

“From closure, our people will all be working remotely and are able to conduct business without disruption to clients,” the firm said. “These firmwide actions are in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.”

Russell McVeagh has also moved to a firm-wide remote-working arrangement on Tuesday, saying that it is committed to “doing everything we can to prioritise the wellbeing of our people, clients, and communities” during these “unprecedented times.”

“We are confident that we are well set up to continue full remote working for as long as is needed to provide exceptional service for our clients,” the firm said. “Please feel free to reach out to your usual contact if you have any questions or if we can provide further assistance.”

The firm is also closely following the government’s announcements and ensuring all of its people are following self-isolation requirements. It also said that clients have the option to participate in meetings via audio or video conference.

Russell McVeagh has also postponed all events and gatherings and changed some events to video conferences. It has also asked its people to stop all non-essential domestic travel. The firm is also continuing to inform its people of precautions they may need to take, including reminding everyone of the need for personal hygiene and hand washing.

“We know it is a challenging time for many, so from all of us here we send our thoughts to you, your teams and family,” the firm said.

Simpson Grierson also closed all of its offices after the country raised its alert level to level 4 at 11:59pm on Wednesday.

“We do not anticipate any disruption to our work with clients during this period. All staff have full access to the firm’s systems, and we have run a number of trials over the past two weeks to ensure our remote working systems are robust,” the firm said. “If you have any questions around business continuity during this period, please get in touch with your normal contact at the firm.”

The firm has also taken several steps over the last month to manage risk. It stopped international travel in early March and made sure that staff members who travelled internationally have appropriately self-isolated.

Simpson Grierson has also stopped all non-essential domestic travel and cancelled all in-person events including seminars and hospitality events. The firm has also briefed its people on precautions to take, as well as stocked up on supplies like antiseptic wipes and hand sanitisers for all areas of the firm’s offices when the alert level was yet to be raised.

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