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War in Ukraine and Life-or-Death Choices for Big Law (Podcast)

March 8, 2022, 9:44 PM

Law firms that do business in Ukraine or in Russia have had to make a series of rapid decisions over the past weeks that could have the highest of consequences.

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Maintaining relationships with Russian clients, aside from earning them public condemnation, could put law firms afoul of new sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of its neighbor last month. But dropping clients could also subject their Russian staffers to state-sanctioned retaliation.

And this is to say nothing of the firms that have offices in Ukraine itself, where just ensuring the physical safety of their attorneys is a challenge.

On today’s On The Merits, our weekly legal news podcast, Bloomberg Law editor Chris Opfer talks about why some firms have turned on a dime to drop their Russian business, while others haven’t and still others can’t. Chris also talks about why the developments of the past weeks show that reputational risk is a much bigger factor in law firms’ decision making than it was just a few years ago.

Do you have feedback on this episode of On The Merits? Give us a call and leave a voicemail at 703-341-3690.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Satter at