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SNF News

SNF’s COVID-19 Response

Posted on October 30, 2020 | Posted in Covid-19, SNF News

COVID-19 has brought much uncertainty to our workplace office but looking back on the past seven months, our response to this pandemic has been remarkable to say the least! Read this article to see what we did and how.

The entrance to Speigel Nichols Fox LLP's office.

Figure 1 Speigel Nichols Fox office

 

Our Leaders

Spearheaded by Susanne Balpataky, our employment law lawyer, Timothy Morgan, one of our litigation lawyers, and Irving Fox, head of our business law, commercial real estate, and collection practice groups, and executed with the help of many people at SNF, our response to COVID-19 has been a resounding success.

From the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the majority of staff and lawyers seamlessly transitioned to working from home. The ease of the transition was due in part to management having previously implemented a “paperless” office environment and offering flexible work-from-home hours to its lawyers. While many law firms and businesses were forced to temporarily shut down due to a lack of appropriate technology to support a remote workforce, we experienced a successful transition.

Navigating unchartered waters, Susanne, Timothy, and Irving developed and implemented thorough and well thought-out COVID-19 policies and protocols to keep us safe. From implementing new procedures for calling in sick to physically moving staff and lawyers so that they maintain the appropriate physical distance of 6 feet apart, they were our leaders in this new environment. They also ensured, through several Zoom meetings, that all members of the firm felt supported and understood the new procedures and protocols in place.

Our Frontline Workers

From day one, Shirley Poirier (our receptionist), Irene Tanner (a senior legal assistant), and Ian Latimer (a litigation lawyer) volunteered to work from the office while the remainder of staff and lawyers worked remotely This allowed our essential service business to successfully continue – and that it did!

The reception area of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP.

Figure 2 Shirley at reception

 

While Susanne, Timothy, and Irving were our policymakers, Shirley executed, and continues to execute, the strict health and safety protocols put in place at the office to keep everyone safe.

Irene and Ian were, and continue to be, always available for lawyers and staff working remotely who may still require certain things done in person at the office.

Transitioning back to the office

As time went on, we all learned to work in the new COVID-19 environment whether at home or at the office. Over time, lawyers and staff gradually returned to the office on a staggered basis and now most lawyers and staff work 3 days per week in the office with strict protocols in place and the balance of the time, remotely. However, some lawyers and staff, for family or health reasons, have opted to continue to work remotely on a full-time basis. Our lawyers and staff have quickly adapted to using the new technologies, such as Zoom and Caselines, to schedule and attend virtual hearings in court and to conduct examinations for discovery and mediations.

SNF’s COVID-19 response could not have succeeded without the collective team effort of its lawyers and staff to abide by the policies and protocols put in place. For example, when in the office, everyone wears a mask when they leave their respective work spaces or go to the washroom, and everyone maintains a 6-foot distance from each other in the common areas of the office.

Staff of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP standing in the reception area.

Figure 3 from left to right: Ian, Timothy (back), Irene, Susanne, and Shirley

 

Seven months have gone by since the virus invaded our lives and workplaces and strict protocols, implemented from day one and varied as appropriate, at SNF continue to be implemented with diligence and care. Thanks to people like Susanne, Timothy, Irving, Shirley, Irene, and Ian, we have remained safe and COVID-free.

Who were your policymakers and frontline workers who kept you afloat, and continue to keep you afloat, during COVID-19? Have you thanked them lately?

 

Written by Rose Avarino, Rose is a law clerk with over 30 years’ experience in litigation and collection areas of law. Rose is a strong advocate for mental health in the workplace and the importance of it for the success of any business, particularly in the legal industry.

 

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