Mexico earthquake shakes up international law firm offices as most escape major damage

The earthquake that rocked Mexico City this week – killing more than 200 people and setting off a volcano – shook up global law firms with offices there, but most seem to have emerged unscathed.

Between the Mexico City earthquake and the multiple hurricanes of Harvey, Irma and now Maria, natural disasters have been keeping global firms on alert.

Greenberg Traurig, Jones Day, White & Case, DLA Piper and Holland & Knight all reported their staff were safe and unharmed after the earthquake struck central Mexico on Tuesday (19 September), levelling buildings and leaving rubble in its wake. Some offices were allowing employees to work from home as needed.

“People are working and we have power,” said Carlos Chavez, a partner at local firm Galicia Abogados. “Damage to buildings was mostly to housing in areas of downtown Mexico City and a couple of schools, one of which is a major tragedy. Power is available throughout most of the city, as is water.”

He said communications are generally working.

Greenberg Traurig’s Mexico City office remained closed on Wednesday (20 September) due to malfunctioning air and water systems, although the building suffered no significant damage, the firm said. A cursory inspection revealed no structural damage, but the firm plans a second, more careful, study.

“Our team is shaken but in good spirits and actively participating in the many citizen-led campaigns to help those affected by the earthquake,” said Greenberg Traurig vice-chairwoman Patricia Menendez-Cambo. “We continue to focus on safety, while also leveraging technology and our global Greenberg Traurig family to assist clients and the very resilient Mexico City community.”

Holland & Knight’s Mexico City office was also closed on Wednesday, awaiting an inspection by engineers to ensure there was no structural damage.

During Hurricane Irma earlier this month, Holland & Knight’s Miami office suffered water damage after water seeped in from balconies. The firm will be replacing carpets in some offices and hallways.

DLA Piper reported no damage of consequence from the earthquake in Mexico City, but by Wednesday afternoon the firm still had not heard from its Puerto Rico office, which is in the path of Hurricane Maria.