Linklaters has followed its City rivals in asking staff to work from home due to the quickening spread of COVID-19.
The firm today (17 March) moved to a full remote working arrangement for its 1,200-lawyer Silk Street headquarters.
This after UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday the government was ramping up its response to the rapid spread of the disease and people should stop non-essential contact with others as well as non-essential travel.
Linklaters said the measures will be reviewed in two weeks and remain in place until further notice. Its Asian offices have already been operating on this basis for the last two months, its US outposts since last week and its Paris staff started working from home yesterday. The firm’s German teams, meanwhile, followed suit today.
The firm has shut its Milan and Madrid offices following decisions by the Italian and Spanish governments to put the countries in shutdown.
A spokesperson for Linklaters said: ‘We have invested in robust and secure technology to support remote working, allowing us to remain fully operational and to support our clients throughout this challenging period.’
The move makes Linklaters the latest Magic Circle firm to move to remote working. Slaughter and May asked all staff to work from home ‘where feasible to reduce overall numbers of people in the office and traveling to work.’ The arrangements will initially be in place until Friday 3 April, with the situation kept under review.
Clifford Chance, whose APAC employees have been working remotely for some time, has rolled out working from home for its UK, US, European and Middle East offices, and has business continuity procedures in place across all its offices. Allen & Overy also announced yesterday it had asked its London staff to work remotely.
Meanwhile, Eversheds Sutherland has also asked staff in its US, UK, Europe and Middle East offices to work remotely where possible. The firm will review the situation regularly but expects to work remotely for the next several weeks.
Eversheds’ offices will still be operational with a core support team in each location to assist those working remotely and other services, unless circumstances or governmental advice changes.
A spokesperson said: ‘We have made extensive preparations across our business to prepare for the disruption caused by COVID-19, with our key priority being the health and wellbeing of our people, clients, suppliers and wider communities and our ability to continue to service our clients’ needs. In particular, we have spent the past few weeks testing our remote capabilities to extend beyond our usual flexible working arrangements for our people.’