Wachtell partner William Savitt has had just about enough of your BS. After all, there’s a global health crisis going on that means we’re pretty far afield from business as usual.
The co-chair of the litigation department sent a memo to clients earlier this week lashing out against normal litigation practices in “nonessential” cases. Savitt said in the memo he was “dismay[ed]” at the “flood” of trivial cases and motion practice while the rest of the world was trying to deal with the fallout from the spread of coronavirus.
Savitt went on to tell Law360 that life under COVID-19 “requires triage for everyone, including and in some ways especially for lawyers. Lawyers, like everyone else, need to avoid insisting on priority for matters that aren’t urgent, and should avoid filing or pressing fringe cases in this environment.”
Savitt’s incredibly practical advice is that shit is just going to take longer now that everyone is simultaneously also dealing with a pandemic. Instead of clinging to the pre-coronavirus rules, lawyers have to be flexible and understand nothing is going to be “normal” for a while:
“Insisting on rules and schedules that apply in normal times in nonexpedited cases isn’t sensible, because times aren’t normal,” Savitt told Law360. “Everything will take longer in this environment, both because of the massive disruption in the way we are working and the press of newly urgent human and legal business.”
Everyone is doing the best that they can, and it is super important to remember that. As Savitt said, “We all have to take care of each other and that includes in the way we litigate.” And how nice to hear that message from someone at the top of a profession as notoriously cutthroat as Biglaw.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).
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