As the impact of COVID-19 grows, we think it is important that you hear directly from us about the mitigation efforts that we the Sapochnick Law Firm have enacted to reduce the risk of infection to our clients, attorneys, and valued staff members.
At this critical juncture, our focus remains providing the highest quality of service to our clients, while at the same time preserving the health, safety, and wellbeing of all those we come in contact with.
To that end, our Firm is hard at work to avoid critical disruptions in service from the COVID-19 outbreak, while at the same time acting responsibly to do what we can to prevent further spread of this virus. We continue to closely monitor and assess this evolving situation and are diligent about communicating with affected clients regarding delays or other issues resulting from this evolving situation. In recognizing the fluidity of this situation, we have engaged our executive staff to meet regularly to monitor activities and amend our policies accordingly.
Our approach to COVID-19
In meeting the needs of our clients while complying with government directives, our Firm has established an Alternate Work Schedule Program that incorporates business continuity for all critical and essential services, especially those in which time is of the essence. In part, our Firm will engage the use of sophisticated and effective remote working software that will allow non-essential employees to work from the comfort of their homes to promote social distancing and reduce transmission. Essential employees in good health will continue to work in office, however every effort will be made to limit client meetings to only those that are essential and cannot be carried out through online platforms.
Our Alternate Work Schedule Program aims to avoid disruptions in service, while implementing health and safety precautions among employees which are in accord with the government’s directives including but not limited to: restricting non-essential travel among employees, increasing cleaning and sanitation procedures, wiping down all touch points, door handles, conference areas, screening or reducing non-essential contact where necessary, providing personal protective equipment, and implementing remote work options at least in part to promote social distancing.
Our Firm has also enforced strict policies for reporting illness. All employees are mandated to disclose whether they may have been exposed to the virus, whether they are being treated for the virus or tested or are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Such employees are directed to stay home.
Signatures on Applications and Petitions
On March 20, 2020, USCIS announced flexibility in submitting signatures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, allowing all applications or petitions for an immigration benefit for submissions dated March 21, 2020 and beyond, to bear an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced provided that the copy is of an original document containing an original handwritten signature, unless otherwise specified by USCIS.
For forms that require an original “wet” signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures for the duration of this National Emergency.
This measure will facilitate timely filing while reducing in-person contact between our employees and clients. In the rare circumstance, where a “wet” original signature is required, our Firm has designated certain individuals to receive documents and meet with clients in-person where it is necessary to do so.
In an effort to reduce in-person contact and limit the spread of the virus as much as possible, our Firm will be strictly limiting in-person appointments to those that are absolutely essential and cannot effectively take place remotely. Meetings that can safely and effectively take place via phone, Skype, or another similar medium will take place remotely. In-person appointments may only be scheduled on a limited case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Firm’s executive team.
We will continue to monitor this situation and follow the guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local health authorities, in addition to doing all that we can to help keep our employees, clients and our community safe.
Our Promise to You
During this difficult time, we pledge to do all we can to support our clients. If you have been affected by the pandemic and are experiencing immigration related issues, we invite you to contact our office as soon as possible to determine what discretionary relief may be available to you during this time of crisis. With the implementation of our Alternate Work Schedule Program, rest assured that our dedication and diligence to our clients will remain unaffected.
We thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate this challenging time together. We encourage our clients to abide by government directives and follow all health and safety measures recommended by the CDC here.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sapochnick Law Firm