Topic Centers

COVID-19

With the rapid spread of coronavirus and increasing impact on our clients, their people and operations, we have mobilized a global team of cross-disciplinary lawyers to support you. Businesses are confronting risks to their employees and economic consequences. Our deep industry sector knowledge, combined with our legal and regulatory insights can help you to respond to both the immediate and longer term business risk stemming from the rapid, global spread of COVID-19.

Below we outline some of the changes and contingency plans that Hogan Lovells has been putting in place regarding how we work and how we continue to service our clients in the current climate.

The firm has been actively monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our approach has been informed by the guidance of the World Health Organisation as well as the guidance from relevant health authorities, for example, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The firm is committed to applying such standards and guidance to protect the health of our people and visitors to our buildings, while ensuring that we continue to deliver uninterrupted service to our clients.

The firm has banned all international business travel and is actively discouraging all longer domestic travel. Members of the firm have also been asked to notify us of personal travel so that the underlying risks can be understood and any appropriate actions taken to protect ourselves and our colleagues.

Our events have been cancelled or postponed and meetings have been restricted. Video conferencing and similar technologies are being widely used as substitutes, thereby limiting the extent of gatherings and making social distancing easier. 

Hogan Lovells operates with a technology infrastructure which enables our lawyers to work remotely. Plans are in place to ensure that this capability is scalable and so the firm is positioned to work remotely for an extended period of time.


Further information: Q&A

What are the potential risks that may have an impact on our clients?

The main risks that we have identified fall into three areas:

  • People: absenteeism / staff shortages caused by sustained absence from work due to sickness or caring for others;
  • Supply Chain: limited supplies resulting from suppliers unable to fulfil requirements;
  • Infrastructure: disrupted transportation network; reduced reliability or failure of critical national infrastructure (e.g. communications, power, water etc.)

What plans are in place to mitigate the impact on clients?

In general, we do not envisage that the provision of legal services will be materially impacted as there are alternative ways of working to maintain close to the current level of service. However, we have adopted a prudent approach and have re-evaluated elements of our business continuity plans to ensure these alternative ways of working are effective. For example, increasing the capacity and performance of our remote working platforms so that higher numbers of concurrent connections can be supported.  

Can you provide your pandemic plan?

We do not share any of our continuity plans externally as they contain sensitive and confidential information. Our Business Continuity Management Policy can be shared if required and any particular questions on our plans can be provided on request by our risk management and business continuity teams.

Do you adhere to the guidance issued by authorities such as the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Yes. We are actively monitoring guidance and recommendations from authoritative sources and using it to inform our internal policies and procedures.

What steps are being taken to minimise the impact from any third party vendors that are relied upon?

The provision of legal services to clients is primarily dependent on internal resources rather than third party vendors. However, where third parties are indirectly relevant - for example, security, cleaning and catering contractors in our offices - we are asking them to confirm and evidence their preparedness, particularly their ability to continue to meet our requirements with increased levels of staff absence.

Have you implemented bans on travel?

We have banned all international business travel and are actively discouraging all longer domestic travel, with particular caution applied to domestic flights and long distance rail travel. We are also asking our people to be thoughtful as to the inherent risks of any personal travel and to notify us of any international or intra-state / regional domestic travel so that we can complete a risk assessment before they return to work. Where there is an elevated risk, returning travellers will be asked to self-quarantine. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to update our policies around travel and returning travellers in line with changes to official advice.

Are you cancelling events and meetings?

We have cancelled or postponed all internal, client and third party events. Internal meetings and those with external parties taking place in our offices are restricted to a maximum of twenty five attendees.  Wherever possible, we are switching in-person meetings and events to alternative ways of meeting by utilising video conferencing, Skype, webex or audio-conferencing. We will continue to follow all guidance issued by the relevant local health authority and update our approach where necessary.

Are you restricting who can access your offices?

We are applying the same standards that we have defined for our partners and employees to anyone that visits or who has access to our offices. We have asked those who are responsible for onsite contractors or for organising meetings that they seek to make sure that those arriving at our offices do not have any flu-like symptoms and that they have not been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last fourteen days.

Is anyone who has been exposed to the virus working on our matters?

We have had a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst our people and anticipate that we will have more. We have a clear protocol where we will notify immediate work colleagues of an incident and take the appropriate steps to provide additional deep cleaning and other follow-up actions in line with health authority guidelines. Our protocols are mindful of both individual privacy as well as the need to address the legitimate concerns and safety of members of the firm and our clients. We will be led by the expert medical advice in this area and responsible transparency.

Will you notify us if you implement your business continuity plan or if any of your staff test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Many of our offices have already implemented elements of our business continuity plans. As a matter of routine, when we become aware of any information that is relevant to or impacts any of our clients, our Client Relationship Partners in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel will make sure clients are notified. 

Can you confirm that you will continue to meet your contractual requirements?

We are confident that our business continuity plans and remote working capabilities will ensure we can continue to meet client expectations. However, this is a rapidly evolving and uncertain situation and we may be subject to emergency legislation or similar actions by governments and other authorities, the specific impact of which is difficult to foresee.

Will you close any buildings or floors of your offices due to Coronavirus, if necessary?

The firm's priorities are to protect the health of our people and other visitors to our offices, while also taking appropriate steps to mitigate any potential interruption to our clients. Our internal protocols have been developed to ensure we deliver on these priorities and as a precaution we restrict access to our offices following a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps us to undertake a deep clean of our premises, assists in delaying the spread of the virus and minimises the opportunity for escalation and a wider impact on our business. Although disruptive, our established business continuity plans, and in particular our remote working capabilities, ensure that the impact on clients is not material.

How will you ensure the ongoing security and confidentiality of our sensitive information when working remotely?

Confidentiality is at the heart of the lawyer-client relationship and our professional obligations remain the same irrespective of where we work. From a technology perspective, the platforms that support our remote working capabilities provide secure access to the same systems that are used in the office and maintain the same level of control on information security. Agile working is already the norm for many of our people, but as these practices have increased in response to COVID-19 we have taken the opportunity to reinforce the professional requirements and responsibilities of physically working out of our offices. For example, being aware of what others in the household can see or hear, clearing away documents at the end of the working day, being sensitive to increased cybersecurity threats, and securing hard copy documents that are either taken home or printed at home for subsequent secure storage or destruction.

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