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The Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) offices of Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) are offering lawyers the chance to reduce their working week by 20 percent in return for an up to 20 percent cut in base pay.
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Three lawyers from Mayer Brown’s Hong Kong office have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the firm. The lawyers recently returned from a business trip overseas, where they are thought to have contracted the virus.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across countries and industries, and the region’s legal services sector is not immune. Here’s how lawyers are currently weathering the storm, and what they need to do to rebound when it’s all over.
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The COVID-19 outbreak has severely disrupted normal life in Southeast Asia, forcing a big chunk of the region’s workforce to work from home, lawyers not exempted. But as the number of cases subsides in certain countries, and governments attempt to bring economies back on track, offices are beginning to reopen.
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Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has prioritised infrastructure as one of his key development goals, but given the severity of which COVID-19 has hit Indonesia, this focus has been put on the back burner somewhat.
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Remote and flexible working arrangements have become a necessity for many businesses as COVID-19 continues to cast a shadow. Now, as such measures become more normal, firms are refining the formula.
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Two international firms have announced their departures from Hong Kong— UK law firm Osborne Clarke will wind down its operations this month and U.S. law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe will exit the market in August.
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With redundancies, pay cuts and the odd firm closing shop in Asia, lawyers in private practice face prolonged uncertainty. But while many firms are playing it safe and avoiding any additional costs, there are still a few that are hiring, and doing so strategically.
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The COVID-19 outbreak has had a devastating economic impact across the region, with businesses shuttered and markets crashing. To mitigate the impact locally, Singapore has responded by introducing a new bill that aims to ease economic pressures on businesses and individuals. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, was passed in parliament in April, and is now fully in effect.