Covid tiers and opening of law firms

The Law Society have issued guidance on how the new covid tier system affects opening of law firms. Just in case you are curious this is what they say:-


You can find out which tier your lawyer is in by entering their office postcode into the government website.


Tier 1: medium alert

  • Everyone who can work from home should do so

  • Law firms can remain open, provided they’re COVID-19 secure

  • Walk or cycle if possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

  • Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble

  • Avoid travelling into a Tier 3 area, other than where necessary (such as for work)

  • If you live in a Tier 1 area and travel to work in Tier 2 or 3, you need to follow the rules from that local area

  • Gatherings for work purposes (such as business meetings) are allowed. This includes business meetings in law firms (including clients visiting law firms) and, where necessary, meetings in client’s homes (for example, in matters related to an elderly or vulnerable client)

  • Business events (such as conferences) can take place indoors and outdoors. Attendance is limited to 50% capacity or 4,000 people outdoors (whichever is lower) and 50% capacity or 1,000 people indoors (whichever is lower). Social distancing should be observed


Tier 2: high alert


  • Everyone who can work from home should do so

  • Law firms can remain open, provided they’re COVID-19 secure

  • Reduce the number of journeys you make and walk or cycle if possible

  • Avoid busy times and routes on public transport

  • Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble

  • Avoid travelling into a Tier 3 area, other than where necessary (such as for work)

  • Gatherings for work purposes (such as business meetings) are allowed. This includes business meetings in law firms (including clients visiting law firms) and, where necessary, meetings in client’s homes (for example, in matters related to an elderly or vulnerable client)

  • Business events (such as conferences) can take place indoors and outdoors. Attendance is limited to 50% capacity or 2,000 people outdoors (whichever is lower) and 50% capacity or 1,000 people indoors (whichever is lower). Social distancing should be observed


Tier 3: very high alert

  • Everyone who can work from home should do so

  • Law firms can remain open, provided they’re COVID secure

  • Travel to venues or amenities that are open is allowed but, where possible, you should aim to reduce the number of journeys made

  • Avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary (such as for work)

  • Reduce the number of journeys where possible and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport

  • Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble

  • Gatherings for work purposes (such as business meetings) are allowed. This includes business meetings in law firms (including clients visiting law firms) and, where necessary, meetings in client’s homes (for example, in matters related to an elderly or vulnerable client)

  • Events should not take place

  • All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect clients, visitors and staff.

In all tiers, there are exemptions from the gatherings limits to facilitate moving home or to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court.


So what does this mean for Argo?


We have reviewed our working practices, as you know, consistently over the last year. The guidance we are following from the government is no prescriptive in what we must do so we have taken this guidance and put it into practice within the office. The precautions we have put in the office have been done with the safety of our clients and team first and foremost. They may be more than other legal practices but we are not prepared to risk transmission of any illness between those we look after and care for.


In our move to Cooks Barn we have arranged our office so that all work spaces are at least two metres apart. Our teams work side by side rather than face to face. We have also split the team into an internal team and an external team to ensure that we have a clear division for staff safety.


We have not reduced the number of meetings we have we now do them in a different way. The external team is responsible for client meetings. These are held by zoom and telephone now. We do still meet clients in person but these meetings are held in accordance with our infection control policies; Argo protect, Argo prevent and Argo positive. Meetings between staff are held by zoom so that there is a clear break between the internal and external teams and there are only three people from our internal team in the office at any given time.


We have also updated our infection control procedure to cover Covid specific circumstances. In the reception area at Cooks Barn we have a "dirty zone". This is where our our first hand sanitising station sits along with a selection of PPE equipment for people who have to visit the office. We have a clinical PPE equipment disposal bin for all PPE equipment used by clients, staff or visitors to the office. This is where our post goes into quarantine. Before any items are moved from the "dirty zone" to the "clean zone" they must be attacked by the dettol spray!


Once in the clean zone staff and visitors will be temperature checked and recorded in our meeting book. The team is also kept up to daily with a daily Covid bulletin to ensure they have the up to date information to maintain awareness and their training.


We are satisfied that Argo is a Covid secure office and we will continue to take steps to ensure that we carry on being so.


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Turkey Mill Business Centre

Ashford Road

Maidstone Kent 

ME14 5PP

01622 843729

 

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