The coronavirus threatens to bring many aspects of British life to a standstill, with workplaces shut down and factory lines abandoned by quarantined workers.
But productivity has at least been boosted in one sector: legal PR.
Press releases from law firms have spread like, well, a virus in Obiter’s inbox in the past week as resourceful media managers find all manner of takes on the outbreak.
We’ve had advice for family lawyers on how to deal with the crisis, medical negligence lawyers outlining what to do if operations are cancelled and guidance from flight delay solicitors if airlines are grounded. As for employment lawyers, television bulletins and newspaper pages are awash with experts advising on sick pay rights, steps to mitigate risk and what to do about an employee who takes their annual leave in the worst affected areas of the world.
One defendant firm even emailed to warn of a ‘potential claims epidemic’ (an unfortunate choice of words) of solicitors and claims management companies advertising for people seeking compensation after contracting the virus. The fact that they couldn’t cite any actual examples of this epidemic was neither here nor there.
But while business is booming for legal PRs, some lawyers face unusual restrictions to their work. Irish Legal News reports that criminal solicitor Padraig O’Connell’s client had been kept in isolation on suspicion of having coronavirus. A district court judge in Killarney then warned the solicitor he would be banned from the courts for up to 21 days if he held a one-to-one consultation.
And spare a thought for the poor partners at magic circle firm Linklaters who have just been told that their promised bunfight in Berlin has been replaced with a 'virtual' conference. Though Obiter suspects one or two will be rather relieved.
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Going viral: pandemic leads to outbreak of legal press releases