A survey of the North’s solicitor profession, published in The Writ, shows that 81% of firms had furloughed between one and ten employees as a result of the pandemic in May 2020. This had declined significantly to 42% by November.
Of those firms surveyed, 91% cited a COVID impact on turnover, with 45% declaring this to be significant. In all, 95% of firms in the North saw a decrease in turnover of up to 50%.
The number of firms that had made staff redundant rose from 5% last May to 22% by November, with a total of 77 secretarial and support staff laid off.
While the percentage of solicitors not on furlough by late last year had risen from 39% to 62%, there were fewer significant changes in the number of secretarial and support staff laid off.
Just 6% of Law Society of Northern Ireland member firms had one trainee on furlough last November.
In May 2020, almost 38% of firms said that they were likely to make further redundancies, with a similar number uncertain, while 23% said they had no plans for lay-offs.
These percentages had reduced significantly by November, with 58% saying there would be no further redundancies.
While 66% of respondents had plans to reduce hours or pay last May, this had dropped to 30% by November.
The vast majority (77%) of respondents said they had no plans to hire within the next six months.
The survey was delivered electronically, both in May and November 2020.