Biglaw, Disasters / Emergencies

Some Downtown Biglaw Firms Seem To Be Struggling With Sandy Recovery

Lower Manhattan took some hits from Superstorm Sandy.

President Barack Obama is coming to New York City today to check in on the city’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Maybe he should check out some of the law firms downtown. While most New York-area law firms focused on getting people back to work as quickly as possible after the storm, some shops continue to experience more structural issues.

Not that those firms are talking about it. I guess some firms don’t like to admit that anything can go wrong in the Financial District….

We got this report via text message on Monday from a tipster at Cahill Gordon about the firm’s temporary office space:

Cahill Gordon moving into temp space today. Open floor plan and no offices for associates. Seems better suited for telemarketers than lawyers… despite ‘asking’ all associates to show up today they haven’t yet connected all phones or internet access.

That seems less than ideal. It’s not just a point of pride and prestige, but open floor plans don’t work great for lawyers who handle sensitive documents and advise on client confidences.

We reached out to Cahill to ask about how “temporary” this arrangement is going to be, but they still haven’t responded. Maybe they’re still trying to turn on the phones.

Still, the Cahill situation does sound temporary. At Sullivan & Cromwell, the storm might have dealt the firm more serious consequences. While everything looks fine at S&C on the outside, beneath the surface, things got a bit soggy. From The Real Deal:

125 Broad Street, a 1.45-million-square-foot tower where the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell is a major tenant, was inspected on Nov. 2: “All three sublevels fully flooded, all mechanicals on lowest floor flooded.”

What’s on the S&C sublevels? From a tipster:

I can assure you that the topmost level of the basement was a caseroom — really a rabbit warren of caserooms — full of boxes of documents (and many computers).

So the question is, which clients’ documents were down there? And what happens to soggy documents, anyway?

Great questions! We asked S&C, but they have not responded to our inquiries.

But we’re not clients of S&C. I would imagine that at some point, the firm’s clients will want to know about the security (or the existence) of their documents.

Obviously, the human cost of Sandy in New York was borne most tragically by the people of Staten Island. But Lower Manhattan didn’t exactly get off unscathed.

Now that Obama has been reelected, maybe he can do something about the whole “seas rising” thing.

Obama to Visit Storm-Ravaged Areas in New York [New York Times]
Surveying FiDi’s ‘restricted’ commercial buildings [The Real Deal]

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