South Florida law firms were closely monitoring Hurricane Irma Wednesday.
Holland & Knight, Greenberg Traurig and GrayRobinson were among the firms waiting for storm updates to determine whether they would be open Thursday and Friday. Akerman, however, announced Wednesday morning it was closing its five South Florida offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. The firm was also monitoring the news to determine whether other offices further north might be affected. GrayRobinson was waiting for the 2 p.m. weather update to determine closures.
As part of its hurricane preparedness plan, Holland & Knight began redeploying some of its personnel in the Tampa operations center to other offices of the firm. The firm’s IT, accounting, finance and human resources personnel departments are based there.
Many smaller firms, such as Rivero Mestre in Coral Gables, also said they would be closed on Thursday and Friday, as did public and private schools, to give employees time to secure their homes.
“I have been in South Florida all my life and by all accounts, Irma is the mother of all storms,” said managing partner Eduardo Rasco from the Aventura law firm of Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco. “We are encouraging our employees to make preparations early, even if it means getting to work late or leaving early Wednesday or Thursday. We are scheduled to close Friday so our employees can get their final preparations done. This is going to be a bad storm and a little extra preparation may make a big difference.”
The firm Kenny Nachwalter’s past hurricane procedure has been to close the office when a hurricane warning goes up. But because of the huge threat posed by Hurricane Irma, the firm implemented a staggered schedule on Tuesday to allow employees to secure their homes, shop for supplies and put up shutters before the hurricane warnings are announced, said the firm’s general counsel Deborah S. Corbishley.
All Florida state courts will be closed Friday, and Miami-Dade courts, Clerk of Courts’ offices and County offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. Court administrators announced bond hearings would follow a weekend or holiday schedule at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building at 1351 NW 12th St. in Miami. Monroe County closed all government offices, including courts, starting Wednesday, until further notice.
Monika Gonzalez Mesa writes about the business of law from Florida. Contact her at email@example.com. On Twitter: @MonikaMesa1