With the UK government moving the country’s coronavirus alert level down and allowing more businesses to reopen from 4 July, we want to clarify how we are continuing to work with our clients to provide an exceptional legal service during this challenging time.
Having been around since 1876, this is not the first pandemic Preston Redman has been through, with the firm having worked through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-20.
Thankfully, medical science and technology have moved on significantly in the last century, meaning we now have a much better idea of how to minimise the spread of viruses and we also have far more options for delivering our services to our clients without the need for face-to-face interaction.
In considering how best to support our clients, we have taken into account the government’s updated guidelines for businesses on working safely and recommendations from the Law Society of England and Wales.
While the situation continues to change, we will update our working practices as appropriate. With that said, the following are the key ways we are working with our clients right now to meet their legal needs.
Working with clients remotely
Our offices have been closed since 27 March with all staff working remotely. However, we are still fully available to speak to clients as normal, using various technology solutions to enable effective communication.
Like most modern law firms, the majority of interactions we have with clients are now by phone and email even under normal circumstances. The good news is that for clients phoning and emailing us, there should be no noticeable difference to our service.
We have kept our switchboard open with calls being rerouted to the home office numbers of relevant staff. This means clients can still call our normal phone numbers and speak to a member of the team. Likewise, our team are receiving emails as normal, so you can still expect a prompt response if you email the firm or email a member of our team directly.
Where clients would prefer to speak face-to-face, we are using videoconferencing software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to hold remote virtual “face-to-face” meetings, which we have found very effective, especially for group meetings.
Wherever possible, we are asking clients to send any important documents by email rather than through the post (with the exception of sensitive information such as bank details).
Should you need to send physical documents to us, you can do so as normal to our Bournemouth office and they will be picked up by a member of staff. However, we ask that you let us know in advance over the phone or by email, so we can discuss whether sending physical documents is required and, if so, that we know when to expect your documents.
Following Law Society guidance, we are now using electronic signatures where appropriate to avoid the need for documents to be signed in person. This provides a safe, secure way to sign documents remotely and has become increasingly common in recent years, even before the current situation.
Witnessing Wills and other legal documents
In cases where documents do need to be signed in person, such as when witnessing a Will, we can assist with achieving this while keeping safe social distancing in place. This can be done either at our offices or in your home, while maintaining safe social distancing and other precautions, such as handwashing and wearing masks as appropriate.
If physical signatures are required, our team will discuss this with you in advance to make sure this can be done in a safe way that you are comfortable with.
Staying safe in essential face-to-face meetings
As and when we feel it is safe and appropriate to meet clients face-to-face, we will take all sensible precautions to limit the risk of spreading the virus so we can keep out staff and clients safe.
These measures will include:
- Meeting outside or in well-ventilated areas
- Maintaining 2 metres distances between staff and clients (or 1 metre distance with additional precautions such as masks)
- Providing hand sanitiser and facilitating regular handwashing
- Regularly cleaning high contact surfaces, such as door handles
Visiting clients in their homes, hospitals, care homes and hospices
We recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where clients would like a face-to-face meeting in their home, or in a hospital, care home or hospice. Should this be the case, we will be happy to discuss this with you and find ways to accommodate you where possible.
Speak to a member of our team to see how we can support you during the coronavirus pandemic
Please be assured that the partners and all staff at Preston Redman are working hard to ensure that all of our clients’ needs are met during these unprecedented times and to provide, so far as is possible, our usual level of service.
To discuss how we can meet your legal needs at this time, please call 01202 292 424 or you can fill out our online enquiry form and a member of the team with respond quickly.