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Newfoundland law society empties its offices

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 @ 12:13 PM | By Terry Davidson

Newfoundland’s law society has sent staff home to work remotely as part of continued efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 17, the Law Society of Newfoundland & Labrador announced that, after considering advice from government and health experts, it will “be transitioning staff to work from home.”

“Staff will be provided with network access such that the work of the Law Society will continue as usual with some modifications,” states the law society on its website.

Members can continue to contact staff via email, and a receptionist will remain on-site to answer phone calls and take deliveries.

“The public can continue to contact the law society regarding complaints via e-mail or telephone, and written complaints can be placed in the drop box,” executive director Brenda Grimes told The Lawyer’s Daily.

The law society’s library will also close, but staff will still provide reference assistance and books during regular business hours. Members must contact the library in advance with requests for any help with research or materials.

Staff will also provide a “scanning service,” where they will scan a book’s table of contents and then do the same for what is needed from the publication.

Access to materials that cannot be removed from the library or cannot be accessed after business hours will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Members wanting to deliver documents to the law society’s offices are to reach out in advance and, whenever possible, use electronic delivery or the building’s drop box.

All scheduled Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars have been cancelled, but efforts are being made to reschedule or conduct them via webcast. Those who have already registered for CLE can either request a refund or wait for rescheduling.

There is no mention as to how long the law society’s offices will remain closed.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation so this could change any time,” said Grimes.

Three people in Newfoundland and Labrador have reportedly tested positive in initial testing for COVID-19.