For our money, the only sane and effective response is to recognize in unblinking fashion the daunting new unknowns you’re facing:  Describe them with clarity, and consider what they might mean for your lawyers, staff and clients.  You then might triage them into, say, which (a) will take care of themselves once humanity is out of this tunnel, so let’s make a donation to medical science; (b) are permanent but readily manageable or even welcome; and (c) are permanent, nasty, and insoluble, at least in the short run.

This is what leadership looks like.  Not invoking hazy rhetoric about “always bouncing back” or “emerging stronger together.”  Not to minimize the call to action: The firm and (again) your clients are eager bordering on desperate to hear that.  But what you need simultaneously with that and of vastly greater importance in the long run is a plan.  (As soon as you have your Plan #1, design Plan #2 to get people to unite behind Plan #1.)

So that’s Hook #1 for this story.

Hook #2?

Rarely—too rarely, we confess—do we expect, much less ask, law firm leaders to speak up on issues of the day. (Nor did we do it this time.) But you will recognize some of the 163 signatories to the letter:

Neil Barr, Managing Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Candace K. Beinecke, Senior Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
David J. Beveridge, Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling, LLP
Michael W. Blair, Presiding Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Eric J. Friedman, Executive Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
David J. Greenwald, Chairman, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Roberta Kaplan, Founding Partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP
Brad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Martin Lipton, Senior Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Michael Schmidtberger, Partner & Chair of the Executive Committee, Sidley Austin LLP

If this were your city, would your name be on this list?

If your answer is no, would the witness like to reconsider?

The full text of the letter including all signatories follows.

Today, business leaders from multiple industries and all five boroughs sent the following letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, pledging their commitment to the city and asking that action be taken on public safety and other quality of life issues that jeopardize economic recovery. Full letter below.

The Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor of New York City
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

As employers who are committed to New York City and its re-emergence from the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident that New York can and shall remain a thriving global center of commerce, innovation and opportunity.

Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk. There is widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

We need to send a strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment. People will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations.

We urge you to take immediate action to restore essential services as a necessary precursor for solving the city’s longer term, complex, economic challenges. Consistent with analysis and recommendations laid out in A Call for Action and Collaboration, a report on the impact of COVID-19 published by the Partnership for New York City in July, we are prepared to help advise and support such an effort.

We look forward to your response and to partnering with you and others who share a commitment to a vibrant recovery and a great future for our city.


Lee S. Ainslie, III, Managing Partner, Maverick Capital

Ellen Alemany, Chairman & CEO, CIT Group Inc.

Jeffrey Aronson, Managing Principal, Centerbridge Partners

Ajay Banga, Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard

Linda Baran, President & CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce

Jeffrey H. Barker, New York State President, Bank of America

Neil Barr, Managing Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Candace K. Beinecke, Senior Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Charles R. Bendit, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Taconic Investment Partners LLC

William H. Berkman, Co-Chairman & CEO, Digital Landscape Group, Inc.

Torry Berntsen, Chief Executive Officer, Americas & Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

David J. Beveridge, Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling, LLP

Frank J. Bisignano, Chief Executive Officer, Fiserv

Michael W. Blair, Presiding Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive Officer, The Related Companies, L.P.

Kathy Bloomgarden, Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.

Adam M. Blumenthal, Managing Partner, Blue Wolf Capital Partners

Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker

John Borthwick, Founder & CEO, Betaworks

Albert Bourla, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer Inc.

Martin S. Burger, Chief Executive Officer, Silverstein Properties, Inc.

Gregory C. Case, Chief Executive Officer, Aon plc

Richard M. Cashin, Managing Partner, One Equity Partners

John Catsimatidis, Chairman & CEO, Red Apple Group, Inc.

Ric Clark, Chairman, Brookfield Property Partners

  1. Rodgin Cohen,Senior Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Richard Coles, Managing Principal, Vanbarton Group LLC

Marc Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, PJ Solomon, L.P.

Michael L. Corbat, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup

Anthony J. de Nicola, President, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe

Todd C. DeGarmo, Chief Executive Officer, STUDIOS Architecture

AnnaMaria DeSalva, Global Chairman & CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Annemarie DiCola, Chief Executive Officer, Trepp, LLC

Toby Dodd, President, New York Tri-State, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.

William R. Dougherty, Chairman, Executive Committee, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Douglas Durst, Chairman, Durst Organization Inc.

Blair W. Effron, Co-Founder, Centerview Partners

Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Partner and Co-Founder, Ehrenkranz Partners L.P.

Douglas F. Eisenberg, Founder and CEO, A&E Real Estate, LLC

Catherine Engelbert, Commissioner, WNBA

Hafize Gaye Erkan, President & Board Member, First Republic Bank

Alexander Farman-Farmaian, Vice Chairman, Portfolio Manager, Edgewood Management LLC

Ziel Feldman, Chairman & Founder, HFZ Capital Group

Joseph R. Ficalora, President & CEO, New York Community Bancorp, Inc.

John Fish, Chairman & CEO, Suffolk

Winston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers

Alan H. Fishman, Chairman, Ladder Capital Finance

William E. Ford, Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic LLC

Adena Friedman, President & CEO, Nasdaq

Eric J. Friedman, Executive Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Mark T. Gallogly, Co-Founder & Managing Principal, Centerbridge Partners

Kenneth M. Garschina, Principal, Mason Capital Management, LLC

Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.

Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker

MaryAnne Gilmartin, Founder and CEO, MAG Partners LP

Daniel Glaser, President & CEO, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

Timothy Gokey, Chief Executive Officer, Broadridge

James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley

Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer, Newmark Knight Frank

Jonathan N. Grayer, Chairman & CEO, Weld North LLC

Thomas Grech, President & CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce

Logan Green, Co-Founder & CEO, Lyft

David J. Greenwald, Chairman, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Kelly Grier, U.S. Chairman & Americas Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Stewart KP Gross, Managing Director, Lightyear Capital

Robin Hayes, Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways Corporation

Sean Hecker, Partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

James H. Herbert, II, Founder, Chairman and CEO, First Republic Bank

Donna Imperato, Chief Executive Officer, BCW

Frederick J. Iseman, Chairman & CEO, CI Capital Partners LLC

Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, Lazard Ltd

John Josephson, Chairman & CEO, Sesac

Roberta Kaplan, Founding Partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Brad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Charles R. Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, Warburg Pincus LLC

Michel A. Khalaf, President & CEO, MetLife, Inc.

Paul Knopp, U.S. Chair and CEO, KPMG LLP

Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chairman & Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Philip Krim, Founder & CEO, Casper

Rochelle B. Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

Joey Levin, Chief Executive Officer, IAC

Allan Levine, Chairman & CEO, Global Atlantic Financial Company

Jeffrey E. Levine, Chairman, Douglaston Development

Robert A. Levine, Chief Executive Officer, RAL Companies & Affiliates, LLC

Martin Lipton, Senior Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman, Kearney

Robert P. LoCascio, Founder & CEO, LivePerson, Inc.

Mehdi Mahmud, CEO, First Eagle Investment Management

Anthony Malkin, Chairman, President & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust

Anthony E. Mann, President & CEO, E-J Electric Installation Co.

Joel S. Marcus, Executive Chairman & Founder, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.

Theodore Mathas, Chairman & CEO, New York Life Insurance Company

Sandeep Mathrani, Chief Executive Officer, WeWork

Peter W. May, President & Founding Partner, Trian Partners

John McAvoy, Chairman, President & CEO, Con Edison, Inc.

Charles R. McCall, Chief Executive Officer, Astoria Energy II LLC &, Astoria Energy LLC

Raymond W. McDaniel, Jr., President & CEO, Moody’s Corporation

Avner Mendelson, President & CEO, Bank Leumi USA

Heidi Messer, Co-Founder & Chairperson, Collective[i]

Keith Mestrich, President & CEO, Amalgamated Bank

Jayne Millard, Chairman & Co-CEO, Turtle & Hughes, Inc.

Edward J. Minskoff, Chairman & CEO, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.

Ken Moelis, Chairman and CEO, Moelis & Company

Greg Mondre, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Silver Lake

Daniel Moore, President & CEO, Rockefeller Group International, Inc.

Tyler Morse, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, MCR Development LLC

Deanna M. Mulligan, Chief Executive Officer, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Tom Naratil, President Americas, Co-President Global Wealth Management, UBS Group AG

Jon Oringer, Executive Chairman, Shutterstock, Inc.

John Paulson, President, Paulson & Co., Inc.

Stan Pavlovksky, CEO, Shutterstock, Inc.

Mark Pearson, President & CEO, Equitable

Randolph Peers, President & CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Perelman, President & CEO, Revlon, Inc.

Michael A. Peterson, Chairman & CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Douglas L. Peterson, President & CEO, S&P Global

Charles E. Phillips, Jr., Chairman, Infor

Deirdre Quinn, Co-Founder & CEO, Lafayette 148 New York

Steven L. Rattner, Chairman & CEO, Willett Advisors LLC

Scott H. Rechler, Chairman & CEO, RXR Realty LLC

Michael Roberts, President & CEO, HSBC Bank USA

James D. Robinson, III, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures

Evan Roth, Co-Chief Executive Officer, BBR Partners, LLC

Michael I. Roth, Chairman & CEO, Interpublic Group

Steven Roth, Chairman & CEO, Vornado Realty Trust

Steven Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Communications, Inc.

Mitchell E. Rudin, Chairman & CEO, Savills Inc.

William C. Rudin, Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.

Kevin P. Ryan, Founder & CEO, AlleyCorp

Timothy Ryan, U.S. Chairman & Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Scott Salmirs, President & CEO, ABM Industries Inc.

Kathleen Savio, Chief Executive Officer, North America, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd

Michael Schmidtberger, Partner & Chair of the Executive Committee, Sidley Austin LLP

Alan D. Schnitzer, Chairman & CEO, The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Alan D. Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners, LLC

Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder, Blackstone

Frank J. Sciame, Chairman & CEO, Sciame Construction, LLC

Kathleen Shanahan, Co-CEO, Turtle & Hughes, Inc.

Suzanne Shank, CEO, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC

Tarek Sherif, Chairman & CEO, Medidata Solutions, Inc.

Adam Silver, Commissioner, National Basketball Association

Joshua Silverman, Chief Executive Officer, Etsy, Inc.

Michael C. Slocum, President, Commercial Banking, Capital One Bank

David M. Solomon, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs

Jeffrey Solomon, Chairman & CEO, Cowen

Lisa Sorin, President, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce

Rob Speyer, President & CEO, Tishman Speyer

Robert K. Steel, Chairman, Perella Weinberg Partners

Charles Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Sotheby’s

Sanjay Swani, Partner, Tailwind Capital

Steven R. Swartz, President & CEO, Hearst

Paul J. Taubman, Chairman & CEO, PJT Partners Inc.

Teiji Teramoto, Chairman & CEO, Mizuho Americas

Owen D. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Boston Properties

Mary Ann Tighe, Chief Executive Officer, NY Tri-State Region, CBRE, Inc.

James S. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews Corporation

Gary M. Tischler, Founder & Managing Partner, Vanbarton Group LLC

Daniel R. Tishman, Vice Chairman, AECOM & Principal, Tishman Realty

Jean-Marie Tritant, President, U.S., Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Joseph Ucuzoglu, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte

Robert Vecchio, Chief Executive Officer, LPI, Inc.

George H. Walker, Chairman & CEO, Neuberger Berman Group LLC

Jessica Walker, President & CEO, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

Debra Walton, Chief Revenue Officer, Refinitiv

Charles Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, EisnerAmper LLP

David Winter, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Standard Industries Inc.

Laila J. Worrell, Chief Executive Officer, Altran Americas + frog

Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City

Strauss Zelnick, Partner, ZMC

John Zimmer, Co-Founder & President, Lyft


cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer


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