find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Freehills saw the light before they went out

Freehills saw the light before they went out

OPPORTUNISTIC staff at Freehills eyeing a few unexpected days off work last week as a result of Sydney’s CBD black out, can blame the Millennium Bug for having to return to work earlier.Situated…

OPPORTUNISTIC staff at Freehills eyeing a few unexpected days off work last week as a result of Sydney’s CBD black out, can blame the Millennium Bug for having to return to work earlier.

Situated high in the MLC Tower, one of 50 buildings to be blacked out after an underground cable fire, Freehills has been prepared for the worst since 31 December 1999 when no one was quite sure what gremlins the new century would bring.

As it turned out, no disaster recovery was needed then. But three years later, Freehills’ management breathed a sigh of relief after the very same system prevented an otherwise costly situation during the power cut, which lasted for around 18 hours and also hit fellow law firms Abbott Tout, Henry Davis York and PwC Legal.

“It’s the only real test we’ve ever had,” chief operating officer and partner Gavin Bell said. “Our Freehills batteries kicked in immediately and saved data. A transfer of all communications to our Melbourne office was then arranged.”

Along with an estimated 50 co-workers, Bell was still in the office when lights went out at around 8pm on Monday, 1 September 2003. Power was not fully restored until 2pm the following day, but Bell, well aware that international top-tier practice is today a 24-hour business, could not afford to rest in the meantime.

Back in the office at the crack of dawn, he hastily arranged a set of serviced offices for those needing to work as well as relaying messages to staff surrounding when the power would once again become available.

“By 9am the next day we were getting a variety of messages and the time for the power re-connection was getting progressively later,” he said. “People were coming in with nothing to do.”

It was not until much later that day, when power was finally fully restored, that Freehills was able to discern whether their disaster recovery strategy had worked.

“You never know what’s going to happen until an event like this hits,” Bell said.

Thankfully there was no bad news, with all data having been successfully saved and transferred back to Sydney.

Even the emails remained intact, catching up on a full day’s worth of messages the only likely bright spot for those robbed of the possible bonus of a welcome mid-year break. There’s nothing like efficiency.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Freehills saw the light before they went out
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...