Recently, we caught up with Labour & Employment Partner, Miriam Lampert, from the London office of global law firm, Squire Patton Boggs. With 1,500 lawyers in 45 offices across 20 countries, the firm is well positioned to identify global trends in the field, and we are grateful that Miriam took the time to share with us observations, tips and best practices in these troubled times for employers and employees.

Local and multi-national clients need domestic and cross-jurisdictional advice

As the global pandemic has taken root around the world, national lockdowns and massive restrictions have had a devastating impact on many businesses, industries and the employees who work in them. The challenges facing businesses inevitably stretch right across the personal, financial and professional levels, but in these uncertain and fast-moving times, clear, pragmatic and timely advice is essential. Not only is the law changing rapidly but also differently across numerous jurisdictions, with global law firms such as Squire Patton Boggs well placed to provide a helicopter view of developments and to advise accordingly. 

How to maintain morale, health, wellbeing and workflow 

While it is important to ensure that you are up to speed with changes in legislation and developments, maintaining employees health, wellbeing and workflow is critical. We already have a very close EMEA-wide Employment team who work together all the time, but we have also put in place a “Buddy” system so that we can   check in regularly with more junior lawyers.  We also recognise that it is important to keep them involved as much as possible and make sure that they are also kept updated about legal developments. We are also using team WhatsApp groups and Zoom to keep the team updated and also to hold morale-boosting virtual coffees and team drinks. We are also holding daily UK Employment Partner calls, and regular EMEA Employment Partner and all-office Partner calls, which have all been hugely helpful.Our PSLs  are also playing a critical role in ensuring that our team and our clients are kept up to date about the ongoing legal developments around the globe. 

With employment affecting multiple industries – use technology to share knowledge 

WhatsApp, Zoom, LoopUp, Webex, Blogs and LinkedIn are all essential ingredients in the Coronavirus communication mix. We also have both internal and external cross-practice and cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus hubs to ensure that other practice areas and offices understand the employment issues that are emerging.   We collaborate closely with contacts at industry trade bodies and these organizations are often very useful sources of information for us.  We are also using webinars and virtual round tables to discuss issues with our clients.

Tailor the Knowledge 

With so much information out there, ensuring that you tailor the information that you send clients is essential. We are doing a lot of “issue spotting” for clients, for example considering whether they might be able benefit from State aid programmes in particular jurisdictions. We have also been trying to identify ways for our clients to partner with each other (for example matching companies who need to recruit quickly recruit staff with those who are having to temporarily lay off staff), as well as ways for our clients to save on legal spend.   

London-based Miriam is an Employment Partner in a large team of over 90 employment lawyers, spread across 14 offices in the EMEA region, including four in the UK.  She is also the global head of Squire Patton Boggs’ Israel Desk and advises many Israeli corporates on their operations around the world. You can reach Miriam on ([email protected]) to discuss these or other key employment issues.