It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that one of the Institute’s younger students, Paul Bernard, has died after contracting Covid-19. Paul was just 30 years old and was in his second year of study for his diploma in bookkeeping. We have passed on the condolences of the Institute to Paul’s family and to his colleagues at DPP Law Ltd in Bootle, where Paul was an enthusiastic and valued accounts assistant.
This very sad event brings home to us all that we are living through deeply challenging and, for many, distressing times. We cannot underestimate the impact of the Coronavirus on businesses of all sizes: law firms are having to make very tough decisions every day to ensure they are well placed to survive and thrive when the current crisis has passed. The Institute sets the health and wellbeing of our team, our members, our customers and our communities as our top priority. We are closely monitoring the global situation and making all necessary adaptations as circumstances unfold. We shall continue to update members on the steps that we are taking to help keep everyone safe, well and working.
We are closely following government advice and our entire team is now working from home. We have robust systems and a strong IT and communications infrastructure in place and we are confident we can continue to provide members with our usual service in these exceptional circumstances.
It is heart-warming to see how these challenging times and different working practices have brought our team closer together, even though they are physically working apart. I am touched by the care our team has shown for one other and I should like to thank them all for the incredibly positive way they have adapted to fast-moving changes, requests and workload over the last few weeks. We have also had to take advantage of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme and the team members who have been affected have been very positive and understanding.
We have made the tough and prompt decision to postpone all our face-to-face training and examinations for the time being. We are still able to work at full steam with students enrolled on our professional qualifications, because these are all taken by distance learning. We are increasing our online training and webinars faster than ever to ensure we still give members plenty of options to continue learning.
We are still fully operational and I appeal to all members to continue to support us by responding positively to renewal requests, so they can continue to use our services as much as they need to during these tough times. This would also be a great time for members to help us by spreading the word to colleagues and friends and contacts in other firms that we are here and continuing to support everyone working in the legal finance sector.
Our aim is to help members keep going, both in their studies and with providing support in their day-to-day roles to keep their firms running efficiently. With this in mind, we would encourage as many of you as possible to engage with us and other members across the Legal Finance community. It can be lonely for some having to work from home, I hope we can all reach out and provide support to anyone that needs it.
Aside from ensuring there is as little disruption as possible in the service we provide, we are dedicating our time to producing new resources to help you, ensuring we review and update our content and make sure we are 100% ready when this situation is over and we all start to return to normal. We are here to answer all of your support questions, with live chat and email support on all issues of professional ethics and compliance you need help with - we understand you have to keep going in your firms, so we have increased our Member Support options and availability. We are in contact almost daily with the SRA and continue to work closely with them and other regulators to work on your behalf, asking the questions and getting the answers you need.
We are in uncharted waters and it’s a challenging time for all of us as we care for the health and safety of our loved ones, friends, colleagues, neighbours and the vulnerable in our communities. We have an amazing team at the ILFM and we’re here for you. We are grateful for your patience and understanding. Please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to access the latest news and information. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly if you have any concerns, questions or thoughts; I will help or signpost you to the right place.