The world has turned upside down due to the spread of the COVD-19 virus across the planet. There hasn’t been an industry not impacted in some way by the major changes taking place in countries all over the world.
Businesses are being shuttered, people forced to stay inside. The future still looks uncertain. The outbreak of the virus is impacting law firms in ways you might not expect as well.
Even if many law firms are forced to work from home, the work that they are doing has only doubled due to the outbreak of the virus. A changing world means tricky legal waters that need to be navigated, and the help of an attorney has never been more important.
Want to hear more about how the coronavirus is impacting law firms worldwide? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Guiding Employers Through Changing Tides
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the day-to-day business of nearly every industry across the globe. The inability to bring workers together to work has made it near-impossible for these businesses to proceed with things as normal.
This means that employers are being required to navigate some difficult employment situations. There are a lot of businesses that have shifted their workforce to their individual homes.
For those who spend most of the workday behind the computer, this isn’t too big a shift. They can still rely on video chat calls to retain some sense of normalcy. But what about the employers who aren’t lucky enough to be able to transition in this way?
This is an unusual time for employers, and they need a strong legal team to lean on when making decisions. The last thing any employer wants to do is take an action in response to the virus that will get that in deep trouble with state or federal laws.
Law firms are expected to be able to hop in at a moment’s notice and provide legal solutions to entirely unusual circumstances.
How to Treat Ill Employees
The coronavirus is so contagious that it was really only a matter of time before some of the major businesses had employees with the disease.
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Law firms are being asked time and time again how they should treat employees who are diagnosed positive with the coronavirus, or even employees who are just showing symptoms. In most situations, law firms are seceding the floor to the Center for Disease Control when it comes to these cases.
Most law firms are recommending that employers comply with CDC regulations when determining which employees require self-quarantine and which don’t.
Of course, it’s when an employee needs to stay home that things can get legally complicated. Law firms need to ensure that employers will be able to act in compliance with state laws regarding paid sick leave.
They’ll also need to ensure, at least in America, that the employer is in compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to provide job-protected unpaid leave to their workers when ill.
Changing Workplace Routines
Law firms have also worked with many employers on how best to adjust the daily routine in their workplaces. The best approach to fight the coronavirus is to have a proactive angle.
If employees will have to go home to work, what is the best way for them to approach their daily tasks in a remote way? While the workplace remains open, what extra sanitation steps can one do to ensure a safe workspace?
The latter question is especially important to law firms, as there’s the threat an employer could be considered negligent if they do not take proper steps to prevent the spread of the virus. The last thing an employer wants during this time is a lawsuit on top of everything else.
Businesses need to understand that a temporary closure could be possible, and they should have a plan in place to weather that storm. Sharing the word of those plans with employees and clients is important as well.
That’s why your inbox has likely been filled with COVD-19 updates from all kinds of businesses.
Aiding Employees During Difficult Times
Of course, the workers who now find their conditions changed are looking for legal advice just as much as the employers. These are unusual and strange times, and everyone could use some guidance.
Law firms around the world are attempting to help workers adjust to these new conditions. They can help fight for protection against shut-downs and lay-offs.
As we mentioned previously, the coronavirus has greatly impacted what most would consider as conditions for a ‘reasonably safe’ workplace. Workers who are still being required to come into their workplace must be accommodated.
Law firms are working to help make cases against employers who are abusing their workers during this difficult and terrifying time. They are working to protect workers who are exposing themselves to danger to benefit their employer.
Attorneys for Health Care Employees
Worker’s rights isn’t the only subject that employees seem to be reaching out for legal help with during this time. Health care attorneys are also working around the clock to help workers in the medical field.
This is a scary time to be a doctor, nurse, or anyone who works in a hospital. These individuals are on the front lines of this pandemic. No one wants to be hit with a medical malpractice claim, but general medical conventions are also being thrown out the window every day.
It can be hard to know where to stand on what is right and wrong in treating this virus.
Attorneys are standing by to help workers with case-by-case situations. Many law firms are using official CDC guidelines to walk medical staff through when is appropriate to take patients in and when to turn them away.
They use the same guidelines to advise on when a patient should be removed from the care and returned home. Health officials have to walk a very fine line in their actions. Being able to lean on around-the-clock help from law firms can be vital.
Impact on Law Firms Themselves
Law firms are working harder than ever, presenting solutions and providing guidance to all sorts of businesses, industries, and individuals. Of course, the firms themselves are being hit hard by the coronavirus changes as well.
It is very difficult for firms to proceed as normal, even with all the demand for work that is coming in.
Many of the most notable law firms around the world are closing their offices. This has been in response to pressure by city or state governments or because an employee has been tested positive for the virus.
Firms that have remained open have had to stay extra vigilant in ensuring their operations meet the safety requirements expected by their employees and attorneys. All firms have to look inward at their operations and decide on how best to serve clients and themselves during this strange time.
How Are Things Changing?
Law firms are adjusting in a number of ways to meet the challenge of COVD-19.
Like many other businesses, many law firms have sent their employees home and are encouraging them to work remotely from the safety of their households. This is intended to benefit the health of both employees and clients.
Implementing a proper cloud-based workflow to allow this to happen has been a challenge for many law firms. Switching to a remote system is certainly not something a business can transition to overnight, and many firms have struggled to make the remote process work.
Firms who switched over to a cloud-based system far before the coronavirus hit are currently much better equipped to handle the changes than those that didn’t.
Those that employed managed service providers for law firms seem to be better able to weather the many changes impacting day-to-day work.
Preparing for a Recession
Many law firms are also anticipating a potentially deep economic recession following the pandemic. The fallout from coronavirus might so significant that it destroys much of the world economy.
While there is still a good deal of work out there for many law firms, weathering an overall economic downturn might still be difficult for firms. Many clients that law firms represent might go out of business altogether.
It’s important that firms prepare for potentially troubled waters ahead.
Understanding Coronavirus Impact on Law Firms
There hasn’t been one industry not impacted by the spread of coronavirus around the world. The above information lays out changes currently occurring in the world of law, and how law firms are responding.
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