Legal Exodus Expected in Justice Dept. Closures

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 12:57 PM

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Plans to close four regional offices of the Justice Department might lead to the exodus of dozens of career antitrust lawyers. The offices are in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, and Philadelphia, The Washington Post blog the Federal Eye reports.

The offices currently employ an anti-trust staff of 94 lawyers and support staff who would be folded into Justice Department offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. Officials say the government would pay relocation costs for staff to be moved, the Post reported.

However, career antitrust lawyers in the offices said they were blindsided by the announcement and many will in effect be laid off because they are unable to move.

“There aren’t a lot of people who’ve been with the division a long time who can pick up and move,” one lawyer in Philadelphia told the Post. “Many people have families and spouses with jobs where they’re already located. And there’s no assurances that in two years there won’t be further cuts, and then we’ll lose a job we picked up and moved for.”

The plans to consolidate offices are part of President Barack Obama’s order to cut spending by getting rid of unneeded office space. The president hopes to cut $8 billion of building costs by the end of 2012, the Post reported.

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