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 have established an intranet site for COVID-19 so
that they can access up-to-date, accurate and relevant information.
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 using a combination of VPN and Virtual Desktops. 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.
What about printing and
dealing with original documents?
For those working remotely, we have also considered practical matters such as printing documents and obtaining original documents from safe custody. Contingency arrangements include:
- 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 been requiring 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 for the time being.
Events and catering
We have postponed or cancelled all large client events due to occur at this time. As part of our staged return-to-work planning, we are reviewing the potential for smaller events to be held later in the year where consistent with our health and safety policies and prevailing Australian and State Government guidelines.
We are encouraging our partners and employees to continue to limit internal events, and to ensure compliance with Australian and relevant State Government social distancing and maximum capacity requirements in all cases.
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 recently travelled or been exposed to COVID-19.
We have implemented meeting guidelines which include requiring
visitors to our offices to declare if they have returned from international travel 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 to avoid physical contact and 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 to declare whether they: have recently travelled internationally, have recently come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19; or are experiencing fever, coughing, or other flu-like symptoms. 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 response.
We have brought forward the firm's flu vaccination program 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 held internal meetings via videoconference on the mental health impacts of COVID-19. We are working with our EAP service provider who is monitoring and reporting on, increases or trends in employee assistance requirements.
We have provided increased hand sanitiser and hand washing products, as well as putting up posters and decals in all of our offices on the importance of safe distancing and personal hygiene.
Any of our partners and employees who are not feeling well and/or are experiencing flu-like symptoms have been directed not to attend the office.