How Hampson Hughes has adapted to Covid-19
The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic left a myriad of challenges for the legal sector.
With court closures and necessary lockdown measures limiting the amount of in-person contact lawyers can have with each other and with clients, law firms and courts were forced to rapidly evolve their ways of working to ensure as little disruption to people’s lives as possible.
At Hampson Hughes it was crucial that we were able to ensure both the safety of our staff and clients, but also that we were able to provide the first-class standard of support for our clients even when restrictions are at their highest. We have produced an FAQ sheet specifically in response to the global pandemic, and in this blog we outline the adaptations we have made as a firm to guarantee we can support you from the moment you open your claim to the moment you receive your compensation.
ADAPTING QUICKLY TO A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
The most important part of the initial phase of lockdown was enabling the entire workforce to thrive in a remote setting without compromising or weakening our security policies and procedures. By adopting more modern methods of working, such as readjusting IT systems to send documents to clients and remote post handling and dictation, we were able to look after the health and safety of our workforce whilst minimising the disruption to our teams, enabling everyone to work from home within 24 hours of the lockdown announcement.
The implementation of regular team and individual catch-ups, to touch base with employees and allow them to air any concerns they had with working from home, also proved beneficial in streamlining the new adaptations. These video and telephone conferences were also useful to monitor everyone’s mental health, as well as ensuring the proper supervision of staff as required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
EMBRACING CHANGES AND WORKING TOGETHER
Ultimately, the willingness of each team member to embrace the new changes has proven one of our greatest strengths and something we have been extremely proud of. Firm-wide adaptability has no doubt been a crucial element to making remote and flexible working within a legal setting a positive experience.
Possibly the most important part of the whole modernisation process has been the willingness of companies and organisations to work collaboratively around the roadblocks the pandemic has created. Groups such as the Liverpool Law Society were effective in bringing COVID-19 protocol to each level of the law sector, and where previously we were unable to settle claims via video link or transfer patient records via encrypted email, now these have become common practices. Lawyers are able to work more efficiently to secure the best results for clients, and medical professionals, courts, and barristers no longer have to wait for necessary information.
One example of this is with a recent joint settlement meeting in a major medical negligence claim. Before lockdown, we would’ve been required to travel from Liverpool to the barrister chambers in Birmingham for the meeting, However, due to the willingness of all parties to use video calling, we were able to set up in laptops in the clients home and settle the £1.25 million case from the client’s living room, and saving a terminally ill client from having to leave her house.
Whilst these modern methods of communication were being embraced at a firm level, the positive changes put in place had to be felt by clients first and foremost. Many clients were used to telephone communication, but some were not set up to receive documents or updates electronically. At Hampson Hughes, we guided those clients who did not have email inboxes to create and navigate them so we were able to continue with their claim during lockdown.
There will likely always be a need for in-person proceedings, team and client meetings, but it’s important that the legal sector takes forward with it these more efficient ways of working. As we move towards a potentially busier period in law, when people start to claim for losses accrued as a result of COVID-19, such a delayed cancer treatments, a robust and flexible infrastructure will prove beneficial to everyone.
We will of course continue to watch carefully for new developments as the situation unfolds and adapt our policies accordingly. However, if you have any immediate questions or require any further information; please direct these requests to your File Handler.