Covid-19 Strategies - One cap doesn't fit all!

18th March 2020

I’ve been picking the brains of a few of our Lawshare member firms (remotely of course) about how they are dealing with the current situation. I think in difficult times we invariably see the innovative side of a firm’s management.

There are no right or wrong answers as to how to deal with the issues we are all facing but it’s been interesting finding out how different firms are coping with the situation.

Covid-19 clearly affects law firms in completely different ways. I have spoken to smaller firms who specialise in one area who have very quickly incorporated a full work at home policy with very little inconvenience.

One multi disciplinary firm I spoke to are at the other end of the spectrum are operating a policy of ‘come into work unless you have symptoms or fall into one of the at risk categories’.

At JMW we are going to trial a system where we have a rota where roughly 50% of staff work from home (changing on a weekly basis). It’s not an exact science though – some of the team do not have the facility to work from home and are needed in the office. Key teams such as our accounts team have been separated into different offices on different floors.

I have spoken to a managing partner who has incorporated a daily rota system where he has separated his staff into 3 teams and only one third of the staff are in the office at any one time. This rotates on a daily basis – Team 1 Monday, Team 2 Tuesday, Team 3 Wednesday, Team 1 Thursday etc. etc.

Firms who have different departments/disciplines (like JMW) will find that a one cap fits all solution wont quite work as what works for the PI team may not work for the criminal or conveyancing team. It’s a logistical minefield.

Stress testing your IT systems and remote working equipment is also essential. As more and more of the country’s work force work from home it will be interesting to see how the systems fair. The reality is a stress test now might not get the same result as in a weeks’ time.

One thing I have noticed though is the resilience and team spirit throughout the firm (and I know the member firms I have spoken to have found the same). Whilst it’s easy to think very negatively about the weeks to come the attitude and drive of my colleagues has convinced me that whilst we may have tricky weeks/months ahead - we will all get through this! (and may have learnt a thing or two about our colleagues in the process).

If any of our member firms have any innovative ideas or strategies please feel free to contact me and I’ll happily share any Intel

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Stuart Cartwright is a Partner located in Manchesterin our Lawshare department

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