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Law firms close flood threatened offices

Law firms close flood threatened offices

Three of the nation's top law firms have closed their Brisbane offices as flood devastates Queensland._x000D_

FREEHILLS, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Blake Dawson have closed their Brisbane offices as flood devastates the state.

Freehills' chief executive office sent an email to all staff yesterday saying the “substantial flood threat” had forced the firm to close the office until safe for staff to return to work.

“All staff have been sent home (on pay) and urgent client matters and some deal teams have been transferred to our offices in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

It is expected the Freehills office will be closed for the remainder of this week.

Mallesons chief executive, Robert Milliner, confirmed all staff were evacuated from the Brisbane office on Tuesday, and the office will remain closed until further notice. 

Mallesons told staff an emergency information line has been activated to provides staff with regular updates and on which they can leave messages that will be closely monitored by the firm's emergency response team. It has also initiated an SMS emergency response system to contact all staff to determine their safety status.

Mallesons, which can made a donation of $50 000 to the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal, and will match donations made to the Appeal by staff. 

Bell said all Freehills’ partners, staff and their families are accounted for in the floods, although some have properties that are damaged or threatened.

Freehills will be matching donations made by staff for flood relief and Bell said he urges everyone to be generous.

The firm is offering emergency leave for those who need to look after a flood affected property or who volunteer in the SES or a similar organisation.

“When it’s appropriate we will work with the Brisbane community committee and our community partners to see how we can best use our Freehills Volunteer Day to help those in need,” he said.

The firm has also offered our support to the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House, which is working with the Queensland Law Society, Legal Aid Queensland and other key legal organisations to provide free legal information and preliminary legal advice to disadvantaged Queenslanders affected by floods.

“I know for some of us this will be a distressing time and I’d like to remind you all that Freehills employees and their immediate relatives are able to use our Employee Assistance Program for free and confidential counselling,” Bell said in his email to all staff.

Blake Dawson, meanwhile, is diverting all calls to its Brisbane office to the national switchboard. 

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