Coronavirus (COVID-19): Timeline of activities

How we've supported our members

We created and published a wide range of guidance and resources for our members, to help them through this difficult and challenging time.

Below, we highlight some of the key successes and achievements, as well as the key pieces of information and guidance that have been published from March to June.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started to have an impact on the UK in early March 2020.

We have, since the beginning, focused on providing practical support to our members, influencing on behalf of the profession and championing the rule of law.

We've had direct engagement with thousands of members via traditional routes, such as our support centre, practice advice and relationship management teams, but also in new and interactive ways.

The insight we've gained directly from members has enabled us to:

  • confidently identify priority issues affecting our members
  • understand our members' needs and proposed solutions in relation to those issues
  • speak with authority when influencing, with the weight of the evidence behind us
  • bring issues to life for key stakeholders, with statistics and direct member experience at our fingertips
  • achieve real benefits for members

March

  • We begin gathering insight to understand the issues important to members
  • Those essential to the administration of justice will be considered key workers – this includes some of our membership
  • We make all COVID-19 emergency response resources free to access, rather than behind a paywall
  • We launch the Law Society COVID-19 web page with Q&As based on incoming member queries and insight
  • In response to member need, we issue conveyancing guidance
  • We publish the jointly-authored Coronavirus Interview Protocol for police investigations
  • A group of members drawn from PRAC and other committees most affected by COVID-19 is formed to advise new and emerging policy positions
  • We begin regular engagement with MoJ, HMCTS, SRA and other key stakeholders, seeking answers to questions and resolution for member issues
  • An email is sent to all members in Wales signposting to Business Wales grants, redundancy rights, government advice (from both the Welsh and UK governments), Legal News Wales and Law Society support/guidance
  • The media relations team begin securing COVID-19 related interviews with national and regional press

April

  • Wales office hosted a virtual meeting in conjunction with Legal News Wales and LawCare, focused on mental health and wellbeing
  • A survey is sent to the largest 206 in-house legal teams (by number of solicitors). We had 64 responses (31% response rate)
  • We agree that COVID-19 emergency response resources ought to be accessible to all members (not behind a paywall)
  • We host a live Q&A in Wales on the furlough scheme
  • Wales office co-deliver a webinar to help guide members through the criteria and application process for the Welsh government Economic Resilience Fund
  • Continue daily calls with MoJ, HMCTS, SRA
  • We host a live Q&A on the furlough scheme, attended by 25 top firms
  • We launch our cybersecurity campaign, supporting the profession to protect clients
  • We launch the Business Continuity Toolkit
  • We donated £75,000 to the Access to Justice Foundation Emergency Advice Appeal and £25,000 to the Law Centres Network Emergency Justice Fund
  • President Simon Davis spoke with Sir Bob Neill MP about our COVID-19 priorities and our concerns regarding criminal legal aid

May

  • We publish guidance for members on the practical steps involved in returning to the office
  • We publish a webpage consolidating all of our wellbeing and mental health resources
  • We publish a practice note on scams
  • We publish five essential issues for smaller firms
  • We publish practice notes on electronic signatures, and on the virtual execution of documents
  • We establish a 'future working' group of SMEs to share best practice for coming out of lockdown
  • We publish our four commandments for staying cybersafe when working from home
  • President Simon Davis and head of public law Ellie Cumbo gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on the impact of coronavirus on the prison, probation and court systems
  • We produce a toolkit to help MPs handle common legal queries from their constituents

June

  • We publish a safe return to the office toolkit for members, including a risk assessment template, downloadable posters and a flowchart (produced by Lewis Silkin) to help employers decide which employees should return to work when reopening workplaces
  • We consult members on a £3m reduction in our part of the practising certificate fee for 2020/2021
  • We launch our Solicitor Spirit campaign, highlighting the work that solicitors have done to support their clients and community throughout the pandemic
  • We publish guidance on meeting the needs of vulnerable clients and working with clients who may lack mental capacity
  • We produce a video to support firms to be cyberaware
  • Our COVID-19 web content receives more than half a million page views
  • The government announces a six-month deferral of the first reporting deadlines under the International Tax Enforcement (Disclosable Arrangements) Regulations 2020 (DAC 6)
  • We respond to the Mayson Report on Legal Services, noting that our focus should be on recovery, not reform

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