Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has temporarily closed its New York office after a partner tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
The partner has been absent from the office since early March due to the virus, with the firm instructing staff to work remotely from March 9 to March 13 as a result. It is now tracking down individuals who have been in contact with the partner in previous days.
A statement from the firm read: ‘Over the weekend, we got results showing that a partner in our New York office tested positive for the coronavirus. His symptoms are minor, and he is resting at home, where he has been since March 2 because of reported infections in his religious community in Westchester Count. Our number one concern is for the health and well-being of all staff.’
The closure for Quinn is just the latest in a string of serious disruptions caused to the business of law by the virus. Baker McKenzie was the first major firm in London to be forced into a decision, closing its 1,000-employee office after a member of staff was taken ill following a return from Northern Italy, though the office has now reopened.
Meanwhile, Latham & Watkins and Simmons & Simmons were among the first firms to suspend partner conferences due to fears of the virus, while Linklaters took the step to hold its conference virtually to avoid physical contact between staff.
The wider economic hit has also been heavy. Today (March 9) the FTSE 100 plunged over 8.5%, on track for its worst fall since 2008, while the US stock markets suffered their worst week since 2008 with the three main indexes falling 10% or more in February.