This blog, though it continues to be updated, has been superseded in some respects by The Lawyer’s Pandemic Hub. For all the latest updates, analysis and advice relating to the coronavirus, visit that page.
Mayer Brown sets out plans to bring back 50 per cent of its London workforce to the office in September.
BLM decides to close its Bristol and Leeds offices when their leases expire in November 2020 and March 2021 respectively. Staff in these offices will work from home permanently in future. Meanwhile a redundancy consultation affecting 89 roles in the firm’s legal support and corporate services teams is launched
Clifford Chance sets out plans to reopen its Canary Wharf office in September.
Withers brings back 24 of its 54 furloughed employees following the reopening of its London office.
Charter Chambers announces it is to close its doors from 30 October due to the coronavirus pandemic combined with the impending sale of its premises.
Addleshaw Goddard brings back back a third of its furloughed employees, with partner profit distributions also being reinstated.
White & Case launches ‘remote international seats’ for trainees to make up for the lack of overseas seats due to the pandemic.
Fladgate makes 19 roles redundant.
Irwin Mitchell begins redundancy consultations, saying they are direct result of an increased shift to digital working which accelerated during lockdown.
Milbank delays its office move to 100 Liverpool Street as Covid-related delays mean it is not yet ready.
Watson Farley & Williams makes 12 legal PAs redundant due to the switch to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Irwin Mitchell allows a “large proportion” of employees who had been working reduced hours to resume normal working hours.
Osborne Clarke brings back its final 83 professionals who were on furlough.
Hogan Lovells partially reopens in London and Birmingham, allowing between 10 and 15 per cent of its UK staff back into its premises as part of a trial that will include rotations.
Bird & Bird closes in Berlin after only one year, due to the pandemic.
Osborne Clarke partially reopens its three UK offices.
Clifford Chance assembles a large partner-led taskforce to lay out the firm’s long-term response to client issues stemming from the pandemic.
Watson Farley & Williams installs a thermal imaging camera as part of precautionary measures for its City office opening in August.
Freeths begins a redundancy consultation, with 80 roles at risk.
Travers Smith defers salary reviews and reduces its annual firmwide bonus
BCLP launches a redundancy consultation across several jurisdictions, with the firm also set to close its office in Beijing.
Taylor Wessing pilots a London office reopening, hoping to bring back people in greater numbers in August.
Bird & Bird reopens its London office, with restrictions.
Dentons decides to shut its Aberdeen and Watford offices with employees and partners from those offices expected to work from home permanently in future. No redundancies will be made as a result.
Dentons also postpones the planned opening of its Dublin office until September.
Osborne Clarke and Bird & Bird both bring back some furloughed fee-earners and business services staff.
Fieldfisher increases its office capacity limit to 25 per cent as part of its reopening plan.
JMW offers antibody testing to its equity partners as part of its reopening plan.
Slaughter and May reopens doors to staff on a limited basis.
Gateley scraps its 2020 bonus scheme.
Burges Salmon holds off from profit distributions to partners and decreases its monthly drawings.
Addleshaw Goddard enters phase two of its reopening plan, opening its London, Leeds and Manchester offices to a small number of employees. Maximum capacity remains at 25 per cent of staff headcount and people must pre-book. The firm says initial take up has been low, with under 30 people returning to all three of Addleshaws’ English offices on 6 July.
DLA Piper opens its UK, Ireland and Middle East offices in a phased return with employees coming in on a voluntary basis only.
Eversheds Sutherland allows a limited number of people to access UK premises on a voluntary basis. For now, no more than five per cent of each office’s headcount will be allowed in.
DWF trainees voice their dissatisfaction with the September qualification process. Only 25 NQ jobs are available for 37 qualifiers. The firm launches a scheme to pair final-seat trainees with partners who qualified during the last recession to help them navigate the current jobs market.
BLM enters redundancy negotiations with employees in the costs and business development and marketing teams, with approximately 20 roles being made redundant. So far, a total of 170 members of staff have been furloughed at the firm, as of April, including both fee-earners and non-fee earners.
HFW offers £5,000 to future trainees to defer the start of their training contracts for six months.
Burness Paull completes a cash call in which the firm’s top equity partners were asked to double their capital stakes to £300,000.
Analysis: the regional firms
Latham & Watkins begins a gradual reopening in London.
DWF pulls out of Singapore and Brussels and reduces its number of staff in Dubai and Cologne.
Osborne Clarke reduces NQ salaries.
Fladgate kicks off a redundancy consultation.
Simmons & Simmons‘ staff vote in favour of a 20 per cent pay cut and a corresponding hours reduction.
Hill Dickinson makes a U-turn on extending pay cuts for staff (see 18 June).
Morrison & Foerster enlists a US epidemiologist to advise on a global protocol around the reopening of its international offices.
Reed Smith reopens its London office on a voluntary basis.
BLM suspends partner distributions for 2020 and scraps bonuses.
Clifford Chance cuts newly-qualified solicitor compensation by 5.5 per cent.
Allen & Overy cuts newly-qualified solicitor salaries by 10 per cent.
Cripps Pemberton Greenish kicks off a return to work pilot.
Freshfields partially reopens its London office, with a phased return to be trialed in coming weeks.
Linklaters reopens its London office to people who find it hard to work from home.
Hill Dickinson has asked staff who were on furlough to return to work, though pay cuts have been extended by the firm.
Clifford Chance reduces its global bonus pot.
Allen & Overy reopens its London office for a limited number of people on a permission-only basis. Elsewhere in its international network the firm gives staff the choice of whether to reenter premises or not.
Dentons reopens in London with a maximum building occupancy of 25 per cent, while those that have chosen to return will require prior approval. Anyone vulnerable to Covid-19, or living with people who are vulnerable, will not be allowed to return. The plan will be rolled out in Dentons’ other UK offices over the following weeks. The firm has introduced a series of measures to maintain sanitation and social distancing, including an onsite ‘”track and trace” system.
Reed Smith cuts NQ salaries, having raised them in Janaury.
Herbert Smith Freehills defers eight of its 28 trainees due to start their training contracts in September for six months, as well as deferring 11 and 14 members of its March and September 2021 intakes respectively.
Taylor Wessing notifies associates that bonuses will be divided into two different installments rather than one lump sum payment, with one half provided in July and the remaining 50 per cent given out in November.
Reed Smith implements a hiring freeze for all professional staff for the rest of the year, though the measures do not apply to lawyers.
Greenberg Traurig hires the former country president of AstraZeneca, Jarek Oleszczuk, to help reintroduce employees into its Warsaw office.
Simmons & Simmons quizzes its staff on whether they would take a 20 per cent pay cut for up to six months. The Lawyer understands that staff have been asked to vote online later this month for a 20 per cent reduction in hours with an associated reduction in pay.
Reed Smith begins a redundancy consultation process in London with around 20 fee-earners and 10 non-fee-earners affected.
DWF unexpectedly ousts CEO Andrew Leaitherland, citing Covid-19 as a reason.
Pinsent Masons sets out plans for eventual re-opening in London.
Bird & Bird puts salary reviews on hold and splits its bonuses in half, awarding a first installment in May and the remaining part in coming months.
Pavia e Ansaldo makes redundancies, including one of counsel, four associates, one trainee and two interns.
BCLP sets out plans for eventual re-opening in London.
Osborne Clarke partners are subject to further reductions in pay, while some staff also get a cut in their salary.
Uber makes redundancies in its in-house legal team
Norton Rose Fulbright sets out plans for eventual re-opening in London.
MW Solicitors, a top 100 firm, enters administration. Historic aged debt placed pressure on cash-flow, which has been exasperated as a direct result of coronavirus.
Dentons’ UK and Middle East employees sign up to the firm’s four-day week scheme starting from June. 94 per cent of the firm’s employees will see their working hours reduced for the next six months, accepting a management proposal that emerged last April.
Morrison & Foerster postpones one half of its final partner distribution round of 2019 by three months.
The Bar Standards Board announces April’s postponed Bar Professional Training Course exams will be able to be taken online in August.
Fieldfisher moved the office of its Mayfair-based hedge fund firm to its main headquarters in Bank in April, to save on costs in the wake of the pandemic, The Lawyer reveals.
Taylor Wessing delays partner promotions, cuts partner drawings by 20 per cent, and reduces hours and salaries across its UK offices up to a maximum of 20 per cent for the less busy areas of its business.
Analysis: How IT teams responded
Cristiano Dalla Bona spoke to chief technology officers across the UK to chart how firms fared in the mammoth task of transitioning office-based workforces into a new army of switched-on homeworkers.
Eversheds Sutherland defers a review of remuneration and bonus payments until October. The firm introduces an enhanced holiday scheme, which gives an additional day of holiday for every four taken to care for others. A hardship fund has also been created to provide additional financial support to employees who are particularly impacted.
Mayer Brown announces a global reduction of 15 per cent in salary for its non-equity partners, together with a cut in pay for its business services staff who earn more than $200,000. Salaries for business services staff who earn less will be reduced according to a graduated scale.
Gowling WLG puts three-quarters of its workforce on reduced working hours until October.
Penningtons Manches Cooper looks to extend its external credit facilities.
Weightmans cuts salaries for fixed share partners, while equity partners agree to a 20 per cent reduction in new drawings, The firm consults with other staff over an 11 per cent salary reduction. Bonus payments are deferred and quarterly profit distributions suspended. The firm also furloughs staff and fee-earners, while staff not on furlough are offered reduced working hours.
DAC Beachcroft asks fee-earners in quieter practice areas to take temporary pay cuts in line with reduced working hours, while the majority of the firm’s most recent profit distributions are withheld.
Squire Patton Boggs cuts salaries.
The Bar Council furloughs 20 per cent of its staff, while both it and the Bar Standards Board implement a pay and recruitment freeze.
Pinsent Masons announces that it will pay out bonuses.
Simmons & Simmons delays partner promotions.
Stephenson Harwood withholds its latest quarterly distribution for equity partners and furloughs non-fee-earning members of staff; it does, however, pay out bonuses.
Ashurst delays partner promotions.
RPC cuts partner drawings by up to 20 per cent. Business services directors also take a cut in salary “until further notice”. Annual salary review is shifted from 1 July to 1 November and the payment of bonuses is also deferred to November.
Brabners furloughs 75 employees and cuts the salaries of the remaining staff by 20 per cent.
Gide Loyrette Nouel cuts partner pay by up to 25 per cent but keeps associate pay rises.
Lewis Silkin temporarily suspends quarterly profit distributions, and cuts salaries and reduces the work hours of a number of its associates, junior lawyers and paralegals across different practices.
Reed Smith equity partners agree to have their bonuses split in two, cashing in half of the amount on the regularly scheduled payment date and the remaining part three months later.
Shearman & Sterling gives all staff the choice to take between three and six months of work on 30 per cent of their usual pay, with the amount increasing to 40 per cent if lawyers who chose to take part in the programme engage in pro bono work during their leave.
CMS delays partner profit distributions for the year 2019/20 to the autumn. It also defers annual salary reviews to the autumn. Bonuses will be split into two installments, with 50 per cent of them awarded in July and the remaining half in the autumn.
The firm also lays off six associates and two secretaries, and suspends contracts for three of its interns, in Madrid.
Herbert Smith Freehills puts its Madrid employees on a four-day week from 1 May, cutting their salaries by 20 per cent.
Dentons’ UK and Middle East LLP asks all of its employees to work a four-day week for six months, with partner drawings reduced by 20 per cent for the same period.
Orrick introduces a voluntary salary reduction scheme for associates in the UK.
Mishcon de Reya furloughs staff, including fee-earners, and reduces partner drawings by up to 50 per cent in some cases. Profit distributions are also frozen.
Reed Smith sets up an unpaid leave programme for its staff and fixed-share partners.
Clifford Chance freezes pay for its employees, while also deferring partner profit distributions.
Gateley furloughs its trainees and pushes back final-seaters’ qualification date until December 2020.
Dentons’ UK and Middle East arm furloughs over 100 employees and suspends partner distributions.
Irwin Mitchell’s executive board takes a 10 per cent pay cut.
Ashurst launches its ‘Stronger Together’ programme. Partners will take a 20 per cent hit to their monthly drawings over the next six months; employees are being asked to adopt an 80 per cent work pattern for three months from 1 May, with an equivalent reduction in their pay.
Charles Russell Speechlys puts a group of business services staff on furlough as well as extending its volunteering provisions, and increases the amount of volunteering time its staff can take to support the NHS and other pro bono causes from 14 to 21 hours.
Osborne Clarke defers 75 per cent of its quarterly profit distributions, with the firm also furloughing 100 staff across its offices.
Burges Salmon furloughs 42 members of staff and redeploys a number of employees into business support functions.
Dentons reduces the cash distributions of its partnership in Continental Europe and Central Asia. It also asks staff to take 50 per cent of their holidays before September, while partner monthly drawings are reduced by 20 per cent for the next six months.
Watson Farley & Williams furloughs 49 non-fee-earners and defers partner pay.
Norton Rose Fulbright backtracks on redundancies it had planned to make before the pandemic hit.
Simmons & Simmons delays partner distributions.
Slaughter and May delays partner distributions.
Bird & Bird delays partner distributions.
Womble Bond Dickinson furloughs some non-fee earners and delays partner distributions.
Hill Dickinson and Lewis Silkin both furlough staff.
DLA Piper furloughs a number of people in its UK property and workplace team.
The Inns of Court announce an emergency hardship fund to assist barristers who need urgent help amid the coronavirus crisis.
Shoosmiths consults with partners and staff about the possibility of moving to a four-day week.
Brown Rudnick furloughs around 17 City fee-earners and temporarily docks pay for those earning over $100,000.
Taylor Wessing decides to withhold distribution of profits to its partners and furloughs at least 20 people, both fee-earners and non-fee-earners.
Mayer Brown launches an emergency service in order to support staff with problems working from home.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner decides to defer the payment of certain portions of planned partner distributions and makes a 15 per cent salary reduction for its staff across the international network for a period of 13 weeks starting next month.
Linklaters decides not to pay the next quarter’s distribution of profits to partners, which had been scheduled to take place in June.
Eversheds Sutherland furloughs 39 members of staff and sets up a hardship fund.
Clifford Chance says will run its 2020 summer vacation scheme as a three-day virtual event.
Herbert Smith Freehills reduces partner profit distributions and freezes salaries.
Pinsent Masons places some of its non-fee-earners on furlough and considers a change to its quarterly cycle of partner payouts.
Eversheds Sutherland debuts an app that allows staff to interact on themes that go beyond their routine jobs as it seeks to counteract the sense of loneliness sparked by the sustained remote working period.
The need for extra tech became apparent as firms scrambled to adapt to new ways of working once the coronavirus hit.
Hogan Lovells purchased hundreds of laptops globally as it emerged not enough equipment would be available when the firm carried out a remote working test last month.
Meanwhile the operations team at CMS also ordered about 600 monitors for lawyers and other employees in response to a demand for additional screens.
Ely Place Chambers begins the process of dissolving, the downturn in the economy due to coronavirus having compounded the set’s financial woes.
Walker Morris furloughs staff to save costs and partners agree “equivalent reductions in monthly drawings.”
Shearman & Sterling’s Italian arm tells its staff that it will not be handing out any pay rises this year.
Taylor Wessing ends part-time working contracts with an extensive pool of students in Germany.
Humphries Kerstetter cuts its charge-out rates across the board. Partner rates, which previously ranged between £390 to £450 an hour, are set at a standard £350 as of 1 April.
Reed Smith slows partner cash distributions in a bid to counteract the potential economic impact on its business. Management at the firm introduces new contingency measures that will reduce monthly draws by 40 per cent for equity partners and 15 per cent for fixed share partners.
THE UK GOES INTO LOCKDOWN
Pinsent Masons calls on members of its Brexit taskforce to deal with client requests linked to coronavirus, with 15 partners pulled in from different practice areas across the world to provide relevant commercial guidance.
Simmons & Simmons assembles an internal working group tasked with conducting a review of the economic fallout stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Henderson Chambers announces it will not recruit pupils in 2020.
It says: “Interviews would need to be conducted by three or four-way video conferencing. In view of increasing pressures on telephone and video conferencing facilities and their capacity, chambers cannot be confident that interviews conducted this way would be a fair reflection of a candidates ability.”
Meanwhile, other chambers including One Essex Court, 7KBW, 3VB and Brick Court cancel their mini-pupillage schemes. Meanwhile, Blackstone has taken steps to undertake them remotely.
Herbert Smith Freehills / Mishcon de Reya / Skadden / Slaughter and May / White & Case
All five firms follow the lead of Shearman to postpone their spring vacation schemes.
Mishcon Academy director Patrick Connolly says: “The health and safety of our people, our clients and visitors is our top priority. With this in mind, we have taken the decision to defer our spring vacation scheme until the summer.”
The Bar Standards Board postpones BPTC exams set for April.
Linklaters moves to full remote working in London until further notice.
The University of Law and City Law School suspend face to face teaching with classes taught online where possible.
Bristows cancels two-day workshop for students due to take place next week, and the open day the following week: “We do not want students to have to travel into London unnecessarily for events that we can hold at a later date.”
A second employee of the firm tests positive for the virus, this time in Frankfurt. Closes the 12th floor of its German building ahead of a deep-clean. Around 40 people on the affected floor are now remote working.
13 March 2020
Cuatrecasas imposes mandatory working from home policies for all staff worldwide
Reed Smith asks all of its workforce in the US, Europe and Middle East to work remotely until further notice. All offices remain open for business, with a team of essential employees helping on matters that include the support of clients needing in-person attendance.
A spokesperson said: “Our goal is to limit the spread of COVID-19. The firm’s well-tested and robust remote working capabilities are such that we can continue to deliver client service as we accommodate this necessity. Many of our people are always working remotely, and our system is already built for this.
“We will regularly evaluate our position based on the best available health information. We are keeping our workforce informed of developments, and we will of course keep our clients informed as well. We remain, as always, fully committed to serving our clients at the highest levels and we will ensure they continue to receive the quality services for which the firm is renowned.”
Taylor Wessing closes office until 18 March after employee tests positive for coronavirus.
Linklaters postpones two-day insight scheme for first-year undergraduate students.
Shearman & Sterling’s London office postpones spring vac scheme, which had been scheduled for the second half of March.
Sidley Austin’s London personnel are encouraged to work from home for the coming two weeks, though the office remains open.
Simmons & Simmons tells London staff to work from home on Monday 16.
Outer Temple Chambers closes chambers for the day with all people working remotely.
AKD tells staff to work from home.
“To further minimise the risk of contagion, we decided that everyone at our offices in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (both fee earners and staff) will work from home, unless there is a client related or other urgent/relevant reason not to do so. We asked them to use video conferencing facilities, to set up conference calls, and if possible to postpone both internal and external meetings. All basic support will be available at our Benelux offices. Obviously, if they have a cold, cough or a fever, they are not allow to come to the office and stay at home anyway. We realise the impact of these measures, but we find it important to limit the risk of the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible.”
Uria “strongly recomends” that employees and lawyers work from home and do not come to the office. Nevertheless, its offices remain open for now. In Barcelona, half the staff are working from home and half are in the office. The offices in Bilbao and Valencia remain open for the moment.
12 March 2020
Half of Hogan Lovells’ US employees worked from home on Thursday 12 March, with the other half due to do the same on Friday 13. The firm’s UK offices will follow the same pattern on Tuesday 17 March and Wednesday 18 March. A spokesperson for the firm said: “We already have a significant number of people who are equipped to work remotely and we have a lot of experience of supporting teams from managing the current outbreak as well as incidents such as storms, floods, and earthquakes over many years. These tests are designed to make sure our people are fully prepared in the event of us having to close one of our largest offices at short notice.”
Burford Capital asks staff in New York to work from home following government advice. The litigation funder is delaying the release of its full 2019 financial results for up to three weeks. Burford’s CEO, Chris Boggart said: “We regret the delay in the release of our 2019 results, but these are unprecedented circumstances and the health and safety of our team is our first priority. This is a rapidly evolving situation. Burford is acting on strong medical advice and following the lead of a number of other respected firms.”
Listed companies have faced serious drops in their share price amid COVID-19, with Burford’s dropping by almost 10 per cent earlier this week.
Besides cancelation of events, allowing working from home, heightened security and hygiene measures, the Portuguese firm is also controlling exits and entrances in all of its Portuguese offices, and are doing “stress tests” to test their pandemic/epidemic contingency plans.
VdA tells employees to work from home and created a ‘reserve group’ of employees who will “ensure the continuity of operations in case of contamination”, as well as cancelling all extended meetings, travel, events and other risk situations.
ECIJA makes working from home compulsory.
Closes its 800-staff Sydney office due to a suspected case of COVID-19. The office is expected to re-open next Monday, and all of its 800 staff are working from home in the meantime.
Norton Rose Fulbright
The NRF Sydney office also decides to send some of the firm’s staff home after a staff member reported exposure to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. The firm said part of its Sydney office remains operational; however, people on potentially affected floors are working remotely for the rest of the week. The decision was made after a
11 March 2020
Osborne Clarke postpones international partners’ conference, which was due to take place on 30-31 March.
“Each year this is an exciting and productive event which establishes and builds on relationships between partners and clients. This year, however, given the uncertainty around COVID-19, bringing together 270 partners from 26 locations would present an unnecessary risk to the health and well-being of our employees, clients, suppliers and local communities.
“We would like to thank everybody who has worked so hard on the planning and logistics of this year’s event. We are hoping to reschedule the conference for the autumn.”
Garrigues tells all Madrid staff to work from home following guidance from the Spanish government, though no suspected cases reported in the firm. More than 1,600 cases of coronavirus have now been reported in Spain, however, with close to 600 of those in the Madrid region.
Analysis: The size of the Italian headache
As Italy’s economic hub, Milan is a key destination for half (25) of The Lawyer Corporate 50 which have offices in the city. DLA Piper, the world’s largest firm, has the most significant presence with 54 partners split between bases in Milan (33 partners) and Rome (21 partners). Dentons and Baker McKenzie also both have two offices in Italy. With 26 partners, including 17 in Milan, Dentons is the larger of the pair, Bakers has 25 partners across its two offices, 19 of whom are in Milan.
In five years the coronavirus will be reflected upon as the match that lit the agile working flame, with firms from Milan to Palermo directing lawyers to work from home in a bid to contain the virus. It’s a trend that will surely spread across Europe as firms struggle to manage the outbreak.
9 March 2020
Quinn Emanuel closes New York office and tells staff to work from home from 9 to 13 March after a partner tests positive for coronavirus.
Simmons & Simmons‘ Milan office denies entry to anyone who has taken public transport to get there. Firm instructs Milan staff to work from home and to go into the office only for urgent matters. While reception stays open, access to the firm is guaranteed only to authorised parties.
6 March 2020
Spanish firm has activated internal protocol which recommends not flying internationally.
5 March 2020
Closed its Sydney office when an employee told the firm his wife was a family member of an elderly lady who died of COVID-19 earlier this week in Sydney.
A day later (6 March), the firm confirmed the employee’s wife returned a negative test, meaning he does not have to be tested, and said: “It’s return to business as usual for now.”
Partner conference, meant to be in Berlin, is now being held as a virtual meeting instead.
“We have invested in a suite of technology tools to help our people work from home and are encouraging them to test these if we need to implement a remote working policy.
As a firm, we have been responding to the outbreak for over five weeks in our Asia offices, with teams working from home or in split team fashion to reduce the number of people in the office at any one time and avoid peak commuting hours. We are therefore well-prepared and ready to respond to any disruption that may occur to other offices.”
Postponed partner conference in Miami.
“At Paul Hastings, the wellbeing of our clients and colleagues is our highest priority. Given the risks surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and the international travel restrictions imposed by various countries where we have offices, it became impossible to hold any firm-wide meetings under the circumstances, resulting in the postponement of our partners’ meeting at the end of March. We have issued guidance to everyone in our firm regarding the impact of COVID-19 and have formed a task force team to address the questions and concerns of our clients.”
Simmons & Simmons
Postponed partner conference in Monaco
“In response to the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus across parts of Europe and Asia, Simmons & Simmons has regretfully decided to postpone its partner conference until a later date. The firm believes that this decision will safeguard the health of employees across its international network.”
Cancelled its strategy day on Friday 6 March.
3 March 2020
Cancelled partner conference in Boca Raton, Florida. Some meetings will still take place virtually.
“We have been actively monitoring travel guidance from various authorities related to the global outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). While we cannot predict the future progress of COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution for the wellbeing of our personnel, we are cancelling our 2020 annual partners’ meeting.”
28 February 2020
Latham & Watkins
Cancelled partner conference in New York.
“After careful consideration, and with the health and well-being of our colleagues and clients foremost in mind, we made the difficult decision to cancel our global partners meeting. While we perceive the risks to be small, safety is our first priority, and we thought this decision was in the best interests of all concerned given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.”
Latham also cancelled a client reception planned for 5 March.
27 February 2020
Partner hospitalised and employees infected.
In a 5 March statement, the firm says: “Wolf Theiss now has the overall results of the coronavirus testing by our Vienna employees: Of a total of almost 300 employees tested, 293 were negative (no infection) and three were positive (infection was found). All of the 80 employees tested in the second test group on Monday tested negative. The three employees who tested positive in the first test group are still in domestic quarantine. This ensures maximum security for employees, clients and courts.
Of the three employees who tested positive, only one person had had contact with clients in the past four weeks. These clients have already been informed by Wolf Theiss. Clients who were not informed by Wolf Theiss had no contact with employees who were positive. One person had contact with a court, which was also informed.
Wolf Theiss has been in intensive contact with the responsible health authorities since the information about the law firm partner suffering from the corona virus became available. A series of immediate measures, including a self-initiated test of all Viennese employees, promptly responded and ensured that all contacts with clients, courts, authorities and business partners only take place through negatively tested employees.”
25 January 2020
Mainland China offices have been closed since Chinese New Year with a skeleton staff on rotation. Partners and staff are all working remotely and the firm says there has been minimal business disruption.
The Hong Kong office has been open but many employees have chosen to work from home. The Singapore and Australia offices have been open and operating as usual, but those who want to work from home can.