How does your new work pattern affect you as a solicitor?
As a corporate partner at Charles Russell Speechlys I was set up to work remotely so luckily the work pattern hasn’t been affected.
My sector of specialism is healthcare, predominantly buying and selling dental practices, as well as nurseries. Prior to covid-19 meeting such clients face to face was infrequent- most communication was done by phone, WhatsApp and email. So method of communication remains the same. However the enquiries coming out relating to business interruption and deals being impacted by the lockdown requires me to give more advisory legal services rather than transactional M&A services. Charles Russell Speechlys has a private client arm to its business so many clients are enquiring about wills, powers of attorney, shareholders agreements and cross option agreements - through to divorce enquiries - the lockdown may be too much for some couples!
How does it affect hearings, cases and court practice?
I do a lot of meetings via webex and zoom. I am giving webinars on the Impact of covid19 and dental practices and writing a lot of articles on the impact of covid-19 on the various healthcare and education industries that I represent.
How does it affect your clients?
All dentists have had to stop non urgent general dental treatment. This is a huge shift in how they operate and many are trying to understand the covid-19 support packages to get them through this difficult time. Furloughing staff is a key area for all businesses and we are helping with this advice.
For some transactions that have started and have bank funding these continue.
Others accept deals are on hold and will try to get their house in order eg incorporate to improve their tax position, revisit the partnership agreement or shareholders agreement, start to put business protection in place eg cross option agreements.
Are there any aspects of mental health that are being affected?
Keeping in touch and being available is key for co workers and clients. Keeping focused on the work helps to control ones thoughts. The news is very ominous and watching it all day can be very upsetting and affect one’s mental health.
What positive aspects are there, that may affect how you choose to work, or how you think the wider field should consider working, in the future?
Being with family and not travelling is the best parts of working from home. I also get a lot more done. The way we work as lawyers will change and working from home will be the norm. Expensive office buildings will no longer be required and make a business more leaner and robust for unprecedented times like these.
What ideas for best practice have you developed or read about, in response to any of these factors?
Have a to do list and follow it. Break regularly and call a colleague or friend to chat if it gets too much.
Written by Helen Wong
Helen Wong MBE is the first port of call for SME companies, high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs regarding corporate and commercial law matters. Helen herself is an entrepreneur, a published author and the recipient of the coveted MBE from Her Majesty The Queen in 2014. A graduate in Law from Cambridge University with a professional career has included Clifford Chance, London & Hong Kong, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Walkers in the Cayman Islands, Helen Tse is highly sought after and an authority in the world of business. Her combination of legal and business acumen stands her heads and shoulders above her peers. For more information contact email@example.com and see www.brexitbrexitbrexit.com