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Law Firms Face 'Uncharted Waters' as Shutdown Grinds Some Practices to a Halt

Christine Simmons LAW.COM

Capital markets lawyers can’t close on initial public offerings. Antitrust lawyers aren’t getting votes on mergers. And white-collar defense lawyers are delaying presentations before the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Some legal activities have nearly ground to a halt amid the federal government shutdown. While law firm lawyers are not losing pay now—unlike some of their counterparts in the federal government—several legal observers said it’s very possible the shutdown will be felt in firms’ first quarters’ financial results. That’s because several activities, including deals and court appearances, will be pushed back.

Jeffrey Lowe, practice leader of recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa’s law firm practice group, confirmed that law firms “might see a dip [in billable hours] in the first quarter, depending on how much longer this goes on.”

“I just can’t believe there’s enough alternate work going on to make up for what’s happening when the [government] offices aren’t open,” he added.

‘Gone Fishing’

 

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