Coronavirus: Linklaters postpones insight scheme as Taylor Wessing closes London office after employee tests positive

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By Aishah Hussain on

Host of City players trial remote working capabilities in wake of pandemic

Linklaters has postponed its first-year insight scheme in response to the escalating coronavirus crisis.

Links’ Pathfinder is a two-day ‘insight event’ for first-year students. The magic circle firm hosts two spring insight schemes in its London office, the first of which was due to commence on 16 March until 17 March. This scheme has been postponed until May, a Links spokesperson told this website.

They said that as of yesterday, “our spring vacation scheme is still going ahead; however, we are monitoring the situation very closely”. Its spring scheme is currently set to run from 30 March until 10 April.

However, Legal Cheek understands several other City law firms are facing tough decisions as to whether to go ahead with their spring vacation schemes, most of which start this month and are open to students from across the UK and overseas.

On Wednesday we reported that banking giant Goldman Sachs had postponed its London legal internship, due to start on 30 March, as a precautionary measure in the wake of the global pandemic.

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Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing has closed its London headquarters after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. It is understood to be the first City law firm to confirm a case of the coronavirus.

In a statement, Taylor Wessing’s managing partner Shane Gleghorn said:

“We have received the news that one of our London-based colleagues has tested positive for COVID-19. The person concerned has been self-isolating for the past week, has had a mild reaction and is recovering well at home.”

He said that the London office will be closed until 18 March, with the date under review.

“We have been planning in relation to these events, and our existing technology and remote working access for our people enables us to continue business activity with our clients,” the statement continued.

A number of City law firms are testing their remote working capabilities in light of the growing threat of the novel virus, including Simmons & Simmons, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith, Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May.

Last month Baker McKenzie closed its London office as a “precautionary measure” to combat a potential case of the coronavirus. It has since reopened.

The highly-infectious disease has resulted in over 5,000 deaths from almost 140,000 cases worldwide. The total number of UK cases stands at 596 with ten reported deaths.

Coronavirus could also delay spring training contract start dates, as we reported last month. Legal Practice Course (LPC) grads returning from exotic ‘gap year’ locations across Asia, including China, Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong, have been urged to heed quarantine advice.

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