How prepared is the firm
To ensure we can maintain a quality of continuous service to our
clients, to protect the wellbeing of our staff, and to minimise the
damage or impact that any unexpected event or emergency could have on
our normal business operations, we have a comprehensive Crisis
Management Plan (CMP), Business continuity plans (BCPs),
and IT Disaster Recovery Plan.
The plans are reviewed every six months and tested at least
annually. The firm's planning takes into account our critical
business activities, key dependencies and likely scenarios including
loss of personnel, infrastructure, premises and technology
The firm has established a Crisis Management Teams and
Alternate Crisis Management Teams. These teams have been trained in
the firm's Crisis Management Protocols as set in the CMP.
In relation to the current
Covid-19 situation the firm also has a:
- Pandemic Policy; and
- Critical Incident Protocol for Influenza.
We are communicating regularly with our partners and employees
(including those on secondment) via email and also through our SMS
alerting function, and established an intranet site for COVID-19 so
that they can access up-to-date, accurate and relevant information on
How robust is the firm's
technology and work from home capability?
Our IT systems can support all of our partners and lawyers
working from home if necessary. We have additional resources
available to support teleconferencing and videoconferencing
requirements for remote working. We are ensuring that we maintain our high levels of cyber security awareness in line with our ISO27001 certification while working remotely.
On 5-6 March we directed our Sydney partners and employees to
work from home. We successfully supported over 500 employees working
remotely using a combination of VPN and Virtual Desktops.
From Monday 16 March, we have begun encouraging all partners and employees to work remotely to the maximum extent possible. Reducing the number of people we have on-site in our offices at any one time will play an important role in helping with social distancing.
What about printing and
dealing with original documents?
We have also considered practical matters such as printing
documents and obtaining original documents from safe custody. While
we think it likely that we will have a skeleton staff in an office
that can attend to such matters we also have contingencies in place
- Safe custody documents: These are retrieved
online and so can be transacted from any location. These would then
need to be collected and delivered.
- Printing documents: Documents required to
be printed can be printed in the office and then delivered to our
people at their home. We also have a third party service provider
who is able to print documents for the firm.
What additional precautions
is the firm taking to minimise COVID-19 risks?
We have suspended all international travel. Up until that point we had required all partners and employees returning from overseas to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days - consistent with Australian Government advice.
We have also suspended all work-related domestic travel.
Events and catering
We have cancelled all client events and events we were due to
host in any of our offices. We will review the situation in line with Australian Government guidelines.
While our offices remain open, we are encouraging our partners and employees to work from home as far as possible, and to limit internal events as far as possible.
We are asking all partners and employees to consider convening
meetings by telephone or VC and to make appropriate inquiries with
clients who may have travelled internationally in the last 14 days or have been exposed to COVID-19.
We have implemented meeting guidelines which includes requiring
visitors to our offices to declare if they have returned from international travel in the last 14 days and whether they have
come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19. If
you experience symptoms of COVID-19 following a visit to any of the
Clayton Utz office, please advise your usual Clayton Utz contact.
We are encouraging attendees at meetings not to shake hands. We
are also providing hand sanitiser in common areas across
office floors and at entry/exit points of our building foyers.
Contractors and suppliers
All contractors coming on site are required to log into the
firm's contractor management systems and are required to declare
whether or not they have:
- visited a country assessed by the Australian Government as
having a High or Moderate risk for COVID-19 in the last 14 days; and
- come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to
If so, the contractor is not allowed to enter our premises.
Health & wellbeing / personal hygiene
We have sought independent medical advice to guide the firm's
We are bringing forward the firm's flu vaccination program
available earlier this year. While the flu vaccination does not
prevent COVID-19, it does help our employees to maintain their
general health and wellness.
We have notified our EAP service provider of the events in
Sydney on 5-6 March. It is monitoring for, and will report on, any
increases or trends in calls. We are holding internal meetings (via
videoconference) on the mental health impacts of COVID-19.
We have provided increased hand sanitiser and hand washing
products, as well as putting up posters in all of
our offices on the importance of personal hygiene.
Any of our partners and employees who are not feeling well and/or are
experiencing cold or flu symptoms have been directed not to attend