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Let’s hope it is short-lived and has minimal impact overall. But it will have both short-term and lingering implications on client thinking. And it will change the way we think about many things around law. Here are 13 things to anticipate:

  1. Litigation continues on but parties are somewhat suddenly more likely to settle—this is a change from fewer clients wanting to settle.

  2. New disputes around supply chains from affected areas—some contracts allow for these kinds of events while others don’t. Some are not so clear. Clients expect disputes on all sides.

  3. Suppliers from unaffected areas are asserting the potential coronavirus spread is causing delays and non-performance.

  4. Little impact on big labor and employment litigation (gender pay, #MeToo, wage and hour)—but it may increase.

  5. Violations of local or state notice requirements for closures—as companies respond to the threat, they are trying to do what they think best protects their employees. In time, agencies will come back and find all the notice violations which may have been missed.

  6. Employee health and safety claims for not doing the right thing at the right time.

  7. Increase in class action activity as brokerage houses and consumer trading systems break down.

  8. Data privacy concerns will heighten as patients want to protect the results of their COVID-19 tests.

  9. Public M&A pushed the pause button—but only for a moment—as clients think about how bad things could get. Most are inclined to continue on—for now.

  10. Private and mid-market M&A is still moving ahead.

  11. Securities class actions will rise, especially around disclosure or lack thereof.

  12. Disputes over insurance claims which may or may not cover impacts of the coronavirus and supply chain issues.

  13. Clients wanting smart opinions on what to worry about and good ideas (a perfect opportunity to reach out).

Once the crisis wanes you can expect:

  • Reviewing and renegotiating of supply chain contracts

  • Realigning supply chains around the globe to allow for flexibility

  • Developing new pandemic- and disease-related plans around safety, closure, and a host of known and unknown issues

  • Revisiting financial disclosure policies

  • Examining requisite travel for meetings

And finally, the CDC insists the best ways to avoid the disease are to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and refrain from shaking hands. So—please heed this advice and flash a peace sign to your clients and friends the next time you see them. At least until this is over.

Stay well and healthy.


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