Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Long Island Business News:
Forecast of Legal Specialties

Recently, Michael H. Samuels penned an article in Long Island Business News in which he talked about his conversations with Long Island attorneys and business people who attempted to forecast which legal specialties will be busy during these lean financial times:

The economy and the new presidential administration will have the biggest effects on Long Island’s law practices in 2009.

Lawyers throughout the Island say that for the next year and for many to come, they will be reacting to the national recession and how it locally impacts Long Island’s businesses and homeowners.

That means company reorganizations, real estate workouts and upticks in fraud and white collar crime.

Among the practice areas expected to be busiest: bankruptcies and foreclosures.

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One particular area in which [Jeff] Wurst [head of the financial services practice group at Uniondale’s Ruskin Moscou Faltischek] said he expects to see more business is commercial foreclosures. When big-box retailers like Circuit City and Linens ‘N Things go out of business and close stores, the landlords of many Long Island strip malls can no longer collect those hefty rents. If those landlords default on their loans and banks foreclose on the properties, even more businesses could go out of business on Long Island, he said.

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[Jerry] Sloane [partner in charge of Berdon’s Jericho office. Berdon is an accounting firm that helps law firms deal with economic issues] said he expects to see an increase in white-collar crime because bad economic times are when company officers tend to misrepresent financial statements and companies take a harder look at their books to discover which employees have been stealing from them.

“The forensic stuff is going to be a very busy area,” he said. “Attorneys are going to get hired to do internal investigations, to interview management, staff, vendors.”

John Bauer, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson’s Melville office, said he also expects to assist more companies with layoffs in 2009. He said as the economy worsens, businesses are going to seek ways to cut costs, especially with personnel.

“The down economy leads to more work in the labor and employment area,” Bauer said.

For the rest of the article, go here.

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