Business of Law

Law firms run 24-hour hotlines for client questions after Britain votes to leave European Union

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Uk and EU flags ripped diagonally in half

Law firms are sending out client advisories, planning client briefings and running 24-hour hotlines to answer clients’ questions after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Britain’s exit isn’t expected to occur for at least two years, but it’s already causing uncertainty and turmoil, report the American Lawyer International,, CNBC and Bloomberg News.

The vote will likely create “a tremendous increase in work” for law firms, British lawyer Christian Leathley of Herbert Smith Freehills told Bloomberg. “There will be a lot of phone calls, briefing notes.”

Law firms’ could see a boost to their trade, financial services and regulatory practices. In the short term, law firms will be renegotiating contracts for their corporate clients and helping them with contingency plans for trade throughout the European Union.

But there may be fewer mergers and acquisitions; a slowdown has already occurred. There could be some activity, however, driven by a weak pound and relatively cheap targets in Britain, according to the story.

London’s position as a center for financial and business operations could also be affected, resulting in a shift in business to other countries. Financial institutions create work for international law firms, and the firms could also shift operations in this area to other jurisdictions, according to Law firms may also restructure because of an EU directive that allowed U.S. law firms to open offices in EU jurisdictions where they had previously been banned from freely partnering with local lawyers. points to other potential impact on law firms. Competition lawyers in the United Kingdom could lose their EU professional legal privilege and the right to appear before the European Court of Justice. Several major law firms have already registered lawyers in Ireland to protect their rights.

Irish lawyers are advocating Dublin as the new hub for the European Union, according to Mayer Brown partner Colin Scagell. “I’ve had a lot of Irish lawyers on the phone to me saying ‘We’re your guy,’ ” Scagell told CNBC. “When your client wants to make contingency plans on how they continue to do business in the EU, come to Dublin.”

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