As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, and governments and health authorities work tirelessly to defeat it, major economies are experiencing mounting pressure as consumer spending, production and investment are drastically curtailed due to virus-related risks.

We recognize that many of our clients are also facing significant and urgent business impact and legal challenges.

Our Baker McKenzie teams across the world are working with clients, regulators and various authorities to produce a variety of client updates and webinars to assist decision makers, including in-house legal teams, on how to navigate this incredibly challenging period.

You can access our Coronavirus Resource Center for information on the impact of this situation on your business and what you can do to manage these risks. It covers areas of immediate concerns such as employer obligations, contract issues, supply chain disruption, financing and force majeure, as well as more forward looking issues such practical impact on transactions and IPO activity.

Insights

Practical Guidance For Dealing With Coronavirus In The Workplace
As the COVID-19 virus spreads rapidly throughout the world, and the possibility of a pandemic declaration inches closer each day, much of the advice to employers so far has focused on generic “good hygiene” recommendations from health departments. This advice is of limited utility for employers who have already faced or will soon confront coronavirus cases in their workforce. This alert, based on lessons learned in past pandemics, provides US employers with specific answers on what they can and cannot do in addressing the COVID-19 epidemic, in the form of an FAQ with examples.

When is force majeure really Force Majeure? Considerations when determining whether a crisis event like COVID-19 triggers force majeure rights under US law
The continued surge of COVID-19 cases, combined with the impact of various government responses, have caused significant disruption to business on a global scale, including commercial travel, supply chains, and other commercial operations and relationships. As a result, some companies have asserted (or threatened) that the outbreak constitutes a force majeure event or gives rise to other legal bases excusing performance. This alert explores what a force majeure clause is, how it’s applied in the US, and what companies can do to minimize their risks and maximize their rights.

COVID-19: Addressing Implications and Mitigating Risks on Critical Transactions
The assessment of our cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional transactional teams is that there will be significant short to medium term negative consequences on transformative transactions. This alert takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on M&A and PE transactions, and provides suggestions on curative measures companies can take. 

How to Protect Yourself from Distress in Your Supply Chain
The events surrounding the COVID-19 virus have brought to the forefront a concern that already was brewing in some sectors of the global economy — supply chain disruption. In the context of global trade wars, Brexit and other factors, clients have been working to safeguard against this, but those efforts must now be intensified. This alert poses the questions our clients should be asking themselves should a supplier experience distress, and explains why, ultimately, ‘cash is king’ in this environment.

No Force Majeure Clause? Other Potential Options to Excuse Contractual Performance Under US Law in the Face of COVID-19 
COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to commercial operations and business relationships around the world.  Some companies are considering whether the outbreak constitutes a force majeure event, but what if your contract does not include an express force majeure clause?  Before concluding that there is nothing that you or your contracting counter-party can do when facing disruptions as a result of COVID-19 (or a crisis event generally), take a closer look at applicable law.  There may be other options available under US law to excuse nonperformance of a commercial contract in the face of a crisis, though it may be difficult to prevail under these alternative theories. 

COVID-19: Essential Action Items for US Employers to Take Now
The rapid spread of COVID-19 is disrupting business (and life) everywhere. As new clusters are identified across Europe and the Middle East, fears of the virus are impacting the US stock market and there are concerns of a global pandemic. Many US companies are questioning what policies and practices they need to put in place, and revisiting those that they may already have in place to deal with this rapidly evolving situation. This update outlines the action items US employers should be taking now in terms of dealing with the outbreak. 

Webinar Recordings

We are running a series of webinars in Asia Pacific and Baker McKenzie FenXun recently hosted a webinar to share practical insights on the topical subject of force majeure and material adverse change in Hong Kong and Mainland China amidst the outbreak of the Coronavirus – you can access the recording here.

Other topical webinar sessions will be recorded and made available on our Coronavirus Resource Center.