It’s work as usual for South Florida firms — with a watchful eye

Aug 18, 2008

Business of Law

It’s work as usual for South Florida firms — with a watchful eye

By: Alana Roberts

It is mostly business as usual for South Florida’s law firms today although managers and their staffs are maintaining a close watch on the strengthening Tropical Storm Fay.

Fort Lauderdale-based Colodny Fass closed its office at noon, shareholder Mike Colodny said.

“We felt it was better for people to go home and tend to their homes, tend to their families,” he said. “They’ve closed the courthouses, the schools, they even closed early voting in both Dade and Broward. We felt it was prudent not to take any chances, and the safety of these people is primary. We learned our lessons from [Hurricanes] Andrew and Wilma for preparedness.”

The firm set up an emergency hotline, and firm leaders asked employees to call Tuesday morning to find out if they should report to work. Colodny said the firm just recently updated its disaster preparedness plan to include the hotline.

Meanwhile, Mark Zelek, managing partner of Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Miami office, said it appears most companies are conducting business mostly as usual.

“I drove up to Fort Lauderdale this morning, and there was a lot of traffic,” he said. “My gut tells me that most businesses are working.”

The firm’s attorneys and staff moved papers and valuables away from windows and into cabinets or the hallways at the downtown Miami office on the 53rd floor of the Wachovia Financial Center.

Even if the firm sends its Miami-based attorneys and staff home, they can continue working, he said.

Joseph Serota, a shareholder in Coral Gables-based Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske, said his firm’s operations were normal this morning but no decision had been made on Tuesday’s operations.