Law Society

Changes to Law Society Operations

25 March 2020

From Monday 30 March staffing levels at the Society’s offices at 28 Murray Street will be reduced. This is the result of a number of staff working from home. With reduced staff and the need to reduce contact, access to the Society building will be restricted from 30 March until further notice. Should access be required, please contact the Society.

Although a number of staff will be working remotely, the Society will continue to provide the same high level of service and communication to the profession.

If possible, practitioners are asked to communicate by email and telephone and to only use DX and the post if absolutely necessary.

Luke Rheinberger
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Closure of Staffordshire House

31 March 2020
As a result of COVID-19 Staffordshire House will be closed from Wednesday 1 April 2020. The access code will be changed in coming days and access cards will no longer work. Practitioners are asked to return their access cards to the Society.

Luke Rheinberger
Executive Director

From the President

31 March 2020
Memo from the President – COVID-19 Restrictions

Direction Mass Gatherings

Direction Isolation



30 March 2020

Dear Members of the Profession,

I am closely monitoring the measures implemented by government to ensure the Law Society remains ready to act on the raft of operational matters arising for the profession.

The need for the profession to adapt, grow and upskill is clear, and I have been watching the approaches taken interstate to combat these challenges. I have worked over the weekend to identify key areas where further guidance would assist:

  • practice management issues, particularly around the way we engage and interact with clients and the profession in these new times (including virtual appointment platforms, tips for taking instructions in this manner, electronic and remote options for signing of documents, and further safeguards for conveyancing settlements); and
     
  • the change in the landscape as to the nature of the relevant issues within the law (such as estate planning, leasing and family law, including parenting orders).

I have started to secure assistance from our members to write articles and provide virtual CPD on topical issues in a timely manner to help the profession, and I will work with our Committees on this in due course.

Our resilience is crucial through these difficult times, and now more than ever I encourage the profession to work collaboratively and collegially.  I look forward to updating you on our new wellbeing initiatives later in the week.

I am endeavouring to source options for the purchase of hand sanitiser for the profession. Stay safe, remain vigilant with social distancing, and reach out to me if you need assistance or have information that could assist the profession.


27 March 2020

Dear Members of the Profession,


We faced a difficult week with the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

I thank those members of the profession who provided input into the role the legal profession should have in the event of a full lockdown. I have outlined the Society’s position to the Attorney General by letter of 24 March 2020.

I continue to act swiftly to protect the best interests of the profession as we work through these challenges.  Please take the opportunity to consider my Memo from 25 March 2020 as to this ongoing and crucial work if you have not already done so.

Stay safe and remain vigilant with social distancing.

Crystal Garwood
PRESDIENT


23 March 2020

Dear Members of the Profession,

I write to you to outline the further action taken by the Law Society to address the ramifications of COVID-19 for the profession.

By way of update, I continued to work with Managing Partners of firms on Thursday afternoon to provide extensive guidance around work from home arrangements where appropriate, and on necessary communications to clients around social distancing requirements to keep our profession and the community safe.  I then held a briefing on Friday morning with the Council by video link to outline the current work completed to respond to COVID-19, and to seek input from all Council members as to further steps.  I started to action those steps over the weekend, including consulting with the profession on further safeguards that could potentially be implemented in our judicial system to reduce the spread of COVID-19; reaching out to the respective Young Lawyers’ Committees; and approaching the TasBar as to potential collaboration.  I today intend to progress the work with our judiciary, Legal Aid, the Land Titles Office and our other key stakeholders to minimise the widespread impact upon the daily operations of all our lawyers.  The work is extensive and ongoing given the fast evolving nature of this pandemic.

I understand the significant effect that COVID-19 will have upon firms and our profession as a whole, and I will be looking at alternate methods to conduct the Leaders Forums through an online format.  Information will be provided around the economic stimulus packages available in the coming days to help, and I will be considering other ways that the Law Society might potentially assist.  There will also be a focus on the wellbeing of our profession, and additional support that can be given to enhance our resilience in unprecedented times.

Please be vigilant in encouraging and advocating social distancing measures, and I urge you not to attend work at your firm if you are feeling unwell.

I will be regularly engaging to help our profession to navigate, and remain positive, to overcome these challenges.

Regards,

CRYSTAL GARWOOD
PRESIDENT


18 March 2020

Dear Members of the Profession,

The Law Society is taking immediate action to address operational matters for the profession in light of COVID-19.  Please find attached a Memorandum from the Executive Director addressing the urgent action taken by Council.

Steps have been taken to put the Society in a position to provide further guidance to the profession to assist in the management of the risk of the spread of COVID-19 within firms and to provide guidance on other issues.

I will continue to proactively lead and support the profession through these challenging times.

CRYSTAL GARWOOD
PRESIDENT

Delay to Commencement of New Committee Year

The commencement of the New Committee Year has been postponed to 1 May 2020.

Please note the closing date for EOIs has also now been extended to 23 April 2020


CPD Compliance – Blanket Extension to 30 April 2020

The Society has granted an extension to all practitioners to comply with their CPD obligations by 30 April 2020.

Practitioners are reminded that the cap under rule 3.3(b) of the Practice Guideline (viewing and listening to online media or recorded material) has also been lifted for CPD Year 2019/2020.


Physical Access to the Andrew Inglis Clark, Launceston and North-West Law Libraries

The Andrew Inglis Clark Law Libary in Hobart, Launceston Law Library and North-West Law Library will be closed to practitioners and the public from Tuesday 31 March 2020 until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure will also apply to after hours access. The library service will remain open for business however, and we will continue to provide a full range of services remotely. 
 
Our priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of our staff, our customers and the wider community.
 
Consistent with Federal and State Government advice, we are seeking to reduce the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus by closing our physical premises until further notice.
 
Although the physical library space itself will be closed, as mentioned above, our services are still running. Library staff can still access the physical collection, and will endeavour to fulfill your information and research requests. We will be increasing the range of electronic content available to the legal profession over the forthcoming weeks and will keep you informed via this newsletter, the Law Society newsletter and via our website. 

Please return all loan items (Hobart, Launceston and Burnie) as soon as possible, via post or DX to the AIC library for processing.

Please contact us for assistance with information and research requests during this period.

Kind regards
Tasmanian Law Library team
Andrew Inglis Clark Law Libary