Biglaw, Department of Justice, Disasters / Emergencies, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Law Schools

Hurricane Sandy: A List of Legal World Closures

Flooding in Wildwood, New Jersey.

As we mentioned earlier today, we’ll be operating normally here at Above the Law, notwithstanding Hurricane Sandy. Our physical offices, at the corner of Broadway and Houston in Manhattan, are closed. But your four editors — Elie, Staci, Chris, and myself — will be working diligently from our homes to keep you informed and entertained during Frankenstorm.

It seems that we won’t be alone in telecommuting today. Encouraging (or even ordering) employees to stay home, but suggesting that they work remotely if they can, seems to be a common response to the storm.

Here is information — including many UPDATES — about how various courts, government offices, law firms, and law schools are responding to Hurricane Sandy….

This list is based on information from our readers, responses to media inquiries from us, and other news sources. It’s a work in progress, and we will add UPDATES as we receive additional information. If you see any errors or if you would like to send us additional info, please email us, subject line “Hurricane Sandy,” or text us, at 646-820-8477. Thanks.


  • U.S. Supreme Court: Although the Court was open today (according to an email we received from Kathy Ardberg of the Court’s Public Information Office), it will be closed tomorrow, as reported by SCOTUSblog (based on a Supreme Court press release). The cases that were scheduled to be heard on Tuesday will now be heard on Thursday of this week.
  • Other federal courts: Many of them — including the D.C. Circuit, Second Circuit, and Third Circuit — are closed. See this list (with links to closure notices on individual court websites).
  • New York state courts: From the courts’ website: “Courts and Court Offices, except for arraignments and emergency applications, are closed, as listed [here].”
  • New Jersey state courts: From the courts’ website: “The New Jersey Judiciary and all court buildings will be closed on Monday, Oct. 29.”
  • Delaware state courts: From the courts’ website: “Due to inclement weather, the Delaware Judiciary will be closed on Monday, October 29, 2012 with the exception of Justice of the Peace Courts 3, 7 and 11.”

UPDATE (2:30 PM): More news on the courts front:

  • Connecticut state courts: closed, according to a tipster. “Includes 2 Supreme Court and 6 Appellate Court arguments. No word yet on tomorrow’s status.”

Government Offices

  • Federal agencies: Federal government offices are closed today. According to the Washington Post, “Non-emergency employees will be granted administrative leave; emergency employees will be required to report to work. Employees should telework if possible.” Additional details are at the OPM website.
  • New York government offices: Even though the subway is closed and the courts (except for select parts) are closed, the offices — e.g., district attorneys’ offices, NYC agency offices, etc. — are open. If employees want the day off, they are “permitted” to take annual leave (i.e., vacation). Said one of our sources, “Ah, bureaucracy.” Said a second, “There are very few city attorneys that are essential, so why are they dragging us in? And paralegals and assistants? Seems like they just don’t want to pay us.”
  • New Jersey government offices: closed.
  • Delaware government offices: “State of Delaware offices are closed during regular business hours 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, October 29th. Non-essential employees are not to report to work for this period. Essential employees are to report as scheduled.”

Law Firms

  • Arnold & Porter: “Our offices will be open and operating with minimal staffing…. Except for critical services where a supervisor has indicated a necessity to be present, all non-legal staff members may be absent for the day and will not need to charge the absence to their leave…. Attorneys and others with Citrix access (or VPN access on Firm laptops) may work remotely or in the office, as necessary.” (Full memo on the next page.)
  • Cravath: the Worldwide Plaza building is closed.
  • Hogan Lovells: the D.C. office is closed.
  • Jenner & Block: the D.C. office is closed.
  • Latham & Watkins: the D.C. office is closed.
  • Paul Weiss: the New York office is closed.
  • Proskauer Rose: “While the New York and Newark offices will be open tomorrow, and we are making arrangements for essential facilities, finance and IS personnel to be in the office Monday, we encourage all other administrative and staff personnel to stay home on Monday. Lawyers who live outside Manhattan, and all Newark lawyers, also are encouraged to work from home on Monday. Lawyers who live in Manhattan should use their discretion in determining whether to come in….” (Full memo on the next page.)
  • Shearman & Sterling: the New York office is closed.
  • Skadden Arps: the New York and White Plains offices are closed.
  • Steptoe & Johnson: the D.C. office is open, but attorneys are being told to work remotely (i.e., to log in via Citrix).
  • Wilson Sonsini: the New York and D.C. offices are closed.

UPDATE (2:30 PM): More news on the law firm front:

  • Boies Schiller: the D.C. office is closed.
  • Clifford Chance: the New York and D.C. offices are considered closed for “attendance” purposes, and lawyers and staff are encouraged to stay home and be safe.
  • Dechert: the Philadelphia, New York, D.C., Princeton, Hartford, and Boston offices are closed.
  • Gibson Dunn: the New York and D.C. offices are closed.
  • Latham & Watkins: in addition to the D.C. office, the New York and Boston offices are closed as well.
  • Morrison Cohen: closed.
  • Proskauer Rose: the firm’s policy for Tuesday is pretty much the same as it was for Monday. (Full memo on the next page.)
  • Seeger Weiss: closed.
  • Sidley Austin: closed. (Full memo on the next page.)
  • Steptoe & Johnson: the New York office has the same policy as the D.C. office: open, but lawyers are being encouraged to work remotely. Steptoe staff will get “liberal administrative leave”; if staffers do come into the office, they will get paid time and a half.

UPDATE (4:30 PM):

  • Pillsbury Winthrop: “Our NY, DC and NOVA offices are closed today in the interest of safety, but everyone is working from home.”

Law Schools

Many law schools announced their closings over Twitter, as you can see by clicking on some of the links below.

  • Brooklyn Law School: closed.
  • Columbia Law School: closed.
  • Cornell Law School: open! Per Twitter, “All classes are expected to meet, and all staff to report to work, as scheduled.”
  • Georgetown University Law Center: closed for both Monday and Tuesday, as reported by Georgetown Law Weekly.
  • George Washington University Law School: closed.
  • Harvard Law School: closed.
  • Hofstra Law School: closed.
  • New York Law School: closed. From a tipster: “Our closing policy follows NYC public schools.”
  • New York University Law School: closed.
  • Rutgers Law School – Camden: closed (for both Monday and Tuesday).
  • Rutgers Law School – Newark: closed (for both Monday and Tuesday).
  • Seton Hall Law School: closed.
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School: closed (for both Monday and Tuesday).
  • University of Virginia School of Law: closed. According to a tipster, this is just the second time in 30 years that UVA has canceled classes.
  • William & Mary Law School: closed.
  • Yale Law School: closed.

UPDATE (2:30 PM): More news on the law school front:

  • American University – Washington College of Law: closed.
  • Cardozo Law School: closed for today, but not for tomorrow: “Yeshiva University has cancelled all undergraduate and graduate classes on all Manhattan campuses, except for Cardozo School of Law, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.”
  • Fordham Law School: closed (for both Monday and Tuesday). (Full memo on the next page.)
  • George Mason University School of Law: closed through Tuesday at 12 p.m.
  • Hofstra Law School: closed on Tuesday as well as Monday.

UPDATE (4:30 PM):

  • Brooklyn Law School: closed through Tuesday at 6 p.m. (and possibly longer).
  • NYU Law School: closed Tuesday now as well.
  • St. John’s University School of Law: closed (for both Monday and Tuesday).

Again, if you have additional information you’d like us to add, please email us or text us (646-820-8477).

To see a few examples of closing notices or memos, flip to the next page.

(hidden for your protection)

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