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Force Majeure & Impossibility of Performance Resulting from COVID-19
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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of business, and the legal profession is no exception. Law schools nationwide have either closed their doors for the semester or transitioned to online learning environments. Likewise, more and more law firms are temporarily shuttering their doors, including but certainly not limited to BigLaw giants Quinn Emanuel and Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath.
If BigLaw is closing its doors in the face of a global health crisis, you know that smaller firms are right behind them. Do not be fooled: this is no time for the “wait and see” approach. Coronavirus is infecting people across the globe at a rapid pace, and firms must be prepared for the inevitable: mandated building closures and a fully remote workforce.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Don’t panic, but it’s definitely time to start checking some boxes to ensure your attorneys are fully equipped to work remotely. Here are a few basic protocols to set you—and your soon-to-be-remote workforce—up for success.
A Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group survey of 11,000 workers and 6,500 business leaders revealed that, among the new issues most urgently affecting their businesses, the vast majority were employees’ expectations for flexible, autonomous work, better work-life balance and the ability to work from home. Law firms are notoriously resistant to change; in the face of this pandemic, hopefully there will be a thin silver lining when old-school firms realize that they can not only survive, but thrive in an environment in which some (or all) employees work remotely.
In the meantime, firms should build out a robust work-from-home plan now to avoid a mad scramble in the face of mandated closures down the line.
[While you’re preparing your staffing strategies, you can also prepare yourself for potential legal issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a good place to start: A free Coronavirus Resource Kit that’s packed with vital practical guidance like articles, checklists, forms, practice notes and more. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE FREE CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE KIT.]
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