Staff at City firms told to stay at home in bid to tackle coronavirus spread

updated on 20 March 2020

In a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus, staff at magic circle firms Baker McKenzie and Allen & Overy have been told to work from home until at least the end of March.

After Allen & Overy cancelled “large” meetings and implemented travel restrictions from Sunday 1 March, the firm is now encouraging its partners and employees to “take advantage of its existing flexible working arrangements”.

According to the Law Gazette, the firm said it “will continue providing its usual high level of service to clients as all our lawyers and most support staff are able to work remotely using secure, tried and tested technology. We are keeping the situation under constant review and have introduced various different working arrangements in other offices across our global network.”

As of Monday 16 March, Baker McKenzie’s London and Belfast offices also made the transition to full remote working. A spokesperson said: “Our offices will be closed for all but essential services such as IT, couriers, post and printing so as to support the delivery of all client services, including closings and court hearings. We do not expect our clients to experience any reduction in service levels.

“We have a well-established agile working programme - including sophisticated technology and IT systems for home working – which allows us to take these precautionary measures without impacting our client service delivery. We will continue to keep the position under close review, but expect remote working to continue in both locations until at least the end of March 2020.”

Taylor Wessing closed its London office after a member of staff tested positive for the virus. According to the Law Gazette, it was set to reopen on Wednesday 18 March, although the firm did explain that this date will be under “continuing review”.

It added: “We have been planning in relation to these events, and our existing technology and remote working access for our people enables us to continue business activity with our clients.”