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COVID-19: An Update from Heyl Royster

06/12/2020

Greetings from Heyl Royster!

As I was traveling yesterday morning from Peoria to our firm’s Edwardsville office, I heard a report that summer will officially arrive next Saturday at 4:44 p.m. While I admit this has snuck up on me, the news report prompts me to send this greeting to wish you well as we head into our last Spring weekend, and officially begin summer! This seasonal transition has often been a time for us to reconnect with clients – a chance to assess how the first half of the year has gone, and how we may best be of service to you moving forward. This year, the need to address those issues seems more compelling than ever, and perhaps more difficult. It has indeed been a year like none other.

On March 17th, I forwarded to you a summary of the firm’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and an outline of our plans heading into the coronavirus shutdown. Little did I know the degree to which life was going to change over the ensuing three months. While I was confident in our firm’s capabilities, I was of course experiencing some uncertainty, just like you and the rest of the world. While we all know this is not over, things seem to be changing for the better, so now is a good time to update you on Heyl Royster’s ongoing response to this situation. We have experienced and managed day-to-day changes and have ultimately learned a great deal.

First, at Heyl Royster we learned the significant investment we have made recently in our IT platform and administrative structures paid off. Particularly in 2019, we made a significant investment not only in our IT structures, but also in the expertise of our IT staff. We did not do this in preparation for a pandemic. Our goal was to improve our ability to meet our legal and ethical obligations to you, our clients. In making these changes, we were in many instances guided by the well thought out guidelines you provide us regarding security and structural requirements. In reliance on some of these IT enhancements, we went to a largely remote working status in all of our offices on March 20. As an essential business, we have had a small group of attorneys and staff present in all of our offices, as needed. While we had some minor glitches which were immediately addressed, I am proud that our service to our clients continued in a seamless fashion. We never closed in any office, and hopefully it looked to all of you as if we were sitting at our desks, business as usual.

Second, we learned that the skill, experience, and dedication of our attorneys and staff is as strong as we believed it to be. We adopted the attitude that we were not going to let this situation get in the way of continuing to resolve problems on behalf of our clients. While we saw some inclination from attorneys on the other side, and in some instances from the courts to simply pause everything, Heyl Royster attorneys took the lead in continuing to push matters to resolution. We know this is not yet over, and we intend to continue that approach – governed by your wishes and desires, of course.

Lastly, we learned a great deal during this crisis about our future. From working remote, to working more safely while in the office, to conducting depositions, hearings, and meetings by video conference, to utilizing technology more effectively, and on and on it goes...many of the changes we all knew would come at some point, arrived immediately with COVID-19. We learned a great deal from you, our clients, in this regard. We know in some ways things have changed permanently, and we look forward to working with you not only to adapt to those changes, but also to thrive alongside you, in this new environment.

By way of a current update, we recently changed our work status. On Monday, June 1, we returned most of our work staff to the office setting. During our period of remote work, we were diligent about developing policies and procedures for social distancing and safe work practices, and because of those policies, our return to the office setting has gone smoothly. The one exception to the return to an office setting is our Chicago office. While that office remains open and fully functional, most of our attorneys and staff in that office continue to work remotely. Interestingly, on the day we returned to office work, we were met with the challenge of the developing protests and civil unrest in some of our cities. Responding immediately in a fashion that kept our offices fully open and functioning was not difficult, due in part to the lessons we learned during the pandemic.

We know this time has also been difficult for you, and we are aware your needs and concerns have likely changed on a permanent basis. We would cherish the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we might best serve those needs moving forward. If you are at the point where your work setting would accommodate a face-to-face meeting, we would be happy to get together. We certainly are available for meeting in any other context as well. We have many thoughts we would like to convey to you regarding what we are seeing as permanent changes to our industry. Most importantly, we are prepared to adapt as necessary to meet your evolving needs.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope you will be hearing from the Heyl Royster attorneys you work with regarding these issues. In the meantime, if now would be a good time for us to get together to talk about our futures, please feel free to contact me. We have always appreciated our relationship with you and will do everything we can to enhance that relationship moving forward.

Best regards,

http://echo4.bluehornet.com/cimages/d7548084d8e05ca25db49945c2d827d5/Craig-Young_web.jpg

Craig S. Young
Firm Managing Partner
Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C.
300 Hamilton Boulevard, P.O. Box 6199, Peoria, IL 61601
cyoung@heylroyster.com, 309.676.0400