Globally countries and their citizens are still contending with the Covid19 Pandemic and its effects on lifestyle, health and even the economy. Most cities all over the world have been on Lockdown and curfews have been imposed to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the Corona Virus. This has also been the case in Nigeria, with a Presidential directive that has kept Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State on Lockdown for about 4 weeks, not to mention other State Governments that also imposed lockdown such as Kaduna, Kano, Osun, Oyo and Rivers to mention a few.
However, for the sake of the economy, President Buhari has directed that a gradual ease of the lockdown commences from Monday, 4th May, 2020. This means we would be getting back to work and the following tips would help lawyers get back to business swiftly :
1.Sanitize and Disinfect your work place :-
The first and foremost thing every law firm should do is ensure that all your working locations are safe and properly sanitized ahead of marking the first day after the lockdown. For this disinfectants should be used to clean the office especially easy contact areas such as door knobs, office stationary, tables etc. Also alcohol based hand sanitizers and tissues should be placed at all the common areas around the workplace. At the same time, you must also ensure that these things are refilled or replaced from time to time.
2.Keep a social distancing policy :-
While at the office, all members of staff should keep a safe distance from one another, and if any member of staff is coughing or sneezing, such person should be asked to return home and isolate. If the firm has a high number of staff, management may want to consider having a work roaster to ensure the office space is not crowded all the time.
3. Track your court matters :-
After the one month period spent on lockdown, it is obvious lawyers would have missed many court dates, pre-scheduled appointments and other official duties. You can begin to write to those clients asking that meetings be re-scheduled and also confirm new dates for your court appearances.
4.Minimize business related travel :-
During the lockdown many lawyers were able to continue doing business with the help of internet enabled applications such as Zoom. Also many courts have introduced guidelines for electronic filings and hearings, as legal practitioners, we can continue to take advantage of these applications to minimize business related travel by scheduling video conferencing meetings.
5. Ensure Staff Hygiene :-
Despite the announcement that the lockdown would be eased, many states have directed the compulsory use of face masks in public. Lawyers should embrace this practice and ensure they use face masks at all times, continous washing of hands and hand sanitizers.
All lawyers and law firms should consider the above initiatives to prevent further spread of the pandemic or any further impact on our businesses.
Caroline Ibharuneafe, Mrs.
Past Vice – Chairman, NBA Ikeja Branch.