Leading firms avoid Law Society event over coronavirus threat

The Scottish Herald reports….

WHEN the great and the good of the Scottish legal profession gathered in Edinburgh for the Law Society of Scotland’s annual dinner last week, a small number of firms were notable by their absence. Lord Carloway, Lord President of the Court of Session, was one of several senior members of the judiciary in attendance, but representatives from Brodies and Harper Macleod were not.

The reason? After news that several cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Scotland while the UK death toll continued to rise, the firms had asked their people to stop attending large events to try to help limit its spread.

Last month Harper Macleod was one of the first UK firms to announce that it would not be attending real estate conference Mipim, a mainstay of the legal calendar that takes place at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes each year. Mipim, which was due to take place this week, has been postponed until June after a large number of organisations followed the firm’s lead.

Harper Macleod chief executive Martin Darroch said that the firm has not put in place a blanket ban on its partners and staff attending events, but instead is considering the risk on a case by case basis.

“As soon as we saw the potential threat posed by the coronavirus, we immediately invoked our business continuity plan and we’ve stated publicly that our primary concern as a business is the health and safety of our colleagues and clients. That’s why we were the first law firm to announce it wouldn’t be attending the Mipim event in Cannes,” he said.

“We are continuing to do everything we can to reduce the risk related to coronavirus both from a wellbeing perspective for all colleagues and to enable Harper Macleod to meet its obligations to clients and stakeholders.

“For us it is all about applying common sense and making a judgement based on a risk assessment.”

Brodies, which said it is “reviewing matters daily and considering Government guidance and best practice as it emerges”, has gone one step further, asking its people not to attend events which, like the Law Society dinner, have more than 100 people in attendance.

Full Report:  https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/18296690.leading-firms-avoid-law-society-event-coronavirus-threat/