The year 2020 completely changed the world’s perspective, with COVID-19 affecting people globally and for the huge impact of losses and scare it caused worldwide. Here are the top 10 COVID-19 related legal trends that were exclusive or relative in response to COVID-19.
- Work-from-Home (WFH)
WFH has become the universal phenomenon with lockdowns bringing countries, continents, states, and even inter-city borders to a complete standstill. Bigger organizations are extending WFH till June 2021 to tackle COVID-19.
All legal services and solutions are now being adapted in a WFH environment or with a lesser percentage of staff in an actual office set-up.
- Virtual Meetings
Virtual Meetings were the first step towards continuing business amidst social distancing and WFH. Zoom, Google Meet became the new mode of workplace meetups and for connectivity.
Clients and attorneys kept in touch and followed on obligations through virtual meeting spaces and stayed updated and in touch for all their legal requirements.
- Force Majeure
Lot was talked and re-talked on every aspect of force majeure and its provisions in regards to millions of contracts worldwide. The term trended everywhere for solutions to COVID-19 disruptions in legal responsibilities.
Contracts were either evaluated for a force majeure clause or amended to include one to protect the business losses in these hard times.
- M&A for Antitrust Reviews
Mergers & Acquisitions of giants during pandemic have come under the lenses and were asked for more comprehensive evidence to dispel monotony notions in anti-trust reviews and closely monitored.
Now M&A is critically viewed for the authenticity of the purpose and the courts have been approached for stopping the sudden boom in acquisitions.
- Virtual Assistants
Improving staff availability due to the COVID-19 with Virtual Assistants and Outsourcing Solutions has been growing. Legal resources are affected by COVID-19, making businesses looking for cost constraints and procurement to fill the shortage.
This has led more legal firms and businesses to drive their legal works towards virtual assistants, and legal process outsourcing companies as alternatives to compensate for their staff shortages, government regulations towards lockdowns, and other factors.
- Business Continuity Plans
Business Continuity Plans for every organization were re-evaluated and reviewed for better future strategies and coming out of the current inadequacies and losses in carrying out business.
Business Continuity Plans paved the way for contingency measures to overcome challenges and issues related to COVID-19 in sustaining the business.
- Material Adverse Effects (MAE)
In light of COVID-19, a lot was discussed on what constitutes MAE and for one to refrain and abide by the contract responsibility and chalk it out to risks under MAE. Material Adverse Effect provides the much-needed leverage in business while in the renegotiation of terms for termination circumstances of a business.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA guidelines were incorporated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA to minimize COVID-19 risks for employees in workplaces paving way for regulations to protect all the employees and monitoring the COVID-19 scenario.
- Contract Breaches and Non-performances
Contracts all over the world went for a complete overhaul in struggling to cope with contract breaches and non-performances at the beginning of 2020. Contracts are expected to gain momentum and perform better in the nearing of the end of 2020 by integrating contingency measures implemented under re-negotiated contracts.
- Employees’ Welfare for COVID-19
New guidelines and support for employees who are directly affected by COVID-19 or their family members and children’sneeds of care were reviewed globally for leave requirements, pay benefits, insurance, and maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity while dealing withthe positively affected employee.
We are now in the third quarter of the year 2020 and by now, things are looking to marginally improve by people becoming more cautious and aware to the spread and taking precautions, adapting to the new ways of working and living, and businesses changing their strategies to turn this year and the future in their stride.