Senior Partner Mark Hirst

Law firm Bromleys has set up dedicated helplines so home-working staff can continue to assist clients on issues such as family and divorce matters, debt, employment, wills and care proceedings during the coronavirus crisis.

Bromleys has introduced remote working for all its lawyers who have been allocated direct dial helpline numbers and are also using Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Face Time and a live chat facility to keep in touch with clients during the lockdown.

The initiatives mean clients of the Tameside practice can continue to obtain full advice and help with care proceedings and children issues, Court of Protection, corporate and commercial matters, business debt recovery and cash flow, employment, family and divorce, personal injury, residential conveyancing and property matters, and wills and probate.

In addition, the firm’s out-of-hours emergency number remains fully operational.

Since the lockdown, Bromleys has seen a marked increase in instructions for its Wills, Probate and Planning for the Future department.

There has also been a surge in the number of people seeking advice regarding domestic violence and, after an initial downturn in activity, the commercial team has received an influx from clients seeking to restructure their businesses.

Senior partner Mark Hirst said: “We remain open for business and fully operational, the only difference being that our staff are working from home.

“Where initial and subsequent appointments would usually be face-to-face, these are now being undertaken remotely.

“We are balancing the well-being of our staff, clients and contacts with a requirement to continue to operate the business and ensure the needs of existing and new clients are met, in line with our core values of being accessible, caring and effective.

“It is interesting to note that, as well as responding to clients’ immediate needs as a direct result of the current crisis, many of them are using this period to review and undertake matters they may have put off for some time, such as drafting wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney concerning their personal and business interests, and structuring their businesses for tax efficiency and succession purposes.”

Bromleys expects family issues may spiral as a result of the lockdown, due to the increased time people are spending at home and the increased stress and worry that parents may be feeling due to a lack of clarity around jobs and bills.

Court hearings are still taking place via various technological methods on a range of issues, including those dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney to put in place arrangements for family members or trusted friends to be authorised to make personal, financial or business decisions for people who may lack capacity now or in the future.