Coronavirus

Shearman & Sterling is the latest firm to confirm a case of COVID-19 within its ranks, as the global pandemic’s grip on the industry shows no sign of easing.

A member its London contractual support staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed.

In a statement to Law.com International’s U.K. arm, the spokesperson said: ”The safety and wellbeing of our people, their families and our clients is our key priority. A member of our contractual support staff in our London office has tested positive for coronavirus. They are recovering well at home. In line with government advice everyone in our London office was already working remotely. Aside from this, it is business as usual and there will be no disruption to our clients.”

A person with knowledge of the situation said that the affected staff member had not been in contact with anyone else in the office for 14 days, and is recovering well.

Roll On Friday reported on Friday that Baker McKenzie and Linklaters faced suspected cases this month.

A spokesperson for Baker McKenzie confirmed that earlier in March, the firm temporarily shut the third floor of its London office while one of its people self-isolated after feeling unwell following contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and that its London teams have been working from home this week in response.

The spokesperson added in a statement: “The individual had limited contact with other colleagues in the office who, as a precaution, were all notified. The third floor was deep cleaned over the weekend and subsequently with the rapidly changing landscape in the U.K. we announced to our people on Sunday that we would move to remote working from Monday.

“We have a well-established agile working programme – including 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 until at least the end of March 2020,” the statement added.

Linklaters moved to a full remote working arrangement in London on Monday, after one of its people felt unwell and self-isolated, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed.

The spokesperson added in a statement: ”In light of the situation across the world, we had already increased the frequency of cleaning efforts across the office to ensure the health and safety of our people and clients. Since then, we moved to a full remote working arrangement for our London office until further notice.

“Our ability to work remotely is well-tested. Our teams across Asia have been operating on this basis for more than seven weeks, continuing to serve our clients effectively, as have our teams in Europe more recently. From last week more of our European offices and those in the U.S. have moved to a remote working arrangement.”

The suspected cases follow two confirmed cases of the virus in Taylor Wessing’s London and Frankfurt bases. The firm was the first U.K. outfit to confirm a case of coronavirus and has since moved all its U.K. bases – London, Cambridge and Liverpool – to remote-working.

Additional reporting by Simon Lock. 

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