updated on 02 March 2020
Due to concerns of a potential coronavirus outbreak, around 1,100 staff at the London office of City firm Baker McKenzie were asked to work from home on Friday 28 February.
This precautionary measure was implemented following the return of a Baker McKenzie employee from northern Italy who is now unwell. As the Law Gazette states, it is the first reported case of a UK law firm responding to a potential case of COVID-19.
The firm stated: “Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients and we have asked our London office employees to work from home for the time being while we are taking precautionary measures in response to a potential case of the COVID-19.
“We have a well-established agile working programme, including technology and IT systems for home working – which allows us take these precautionary measures without impacting our client service delivery. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following the advice and guidance issued by the government and Public Health of England.”
Amidst numerous reports on preventing the spread of the virus, the lord chief justice recently released a statement to journalists explaining that the courts have a “flu pandemic continuity plan” ready for activation. “In the criminal courts we have to be very alive to what is going on in prisons,” he said.
Baker McKenzie staff returned to work on Monday 2 March after the unwell employee tested negative for the virus. Alongside the preventative measures taken by Baker McKenzie, magic circle firm Linklaters has also been requesting that staff who have recently travelled to regions most impacted by COVID-19 work from home for 14 days.