The DOJ has announced that it will close 4 Antitrust Division Field Offices. From the DOJ press release:
Consolidate Antitrust Division field office space in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas and Philadelphia into the Chicago, New York and San Francisco field offices as well as the division’s Washington, D.C.-based section. Ninety-four positions will be reassigned to the remaining field offices and to the Washington, D.C., section in order to provide additional staffing resources to larger investigations. A savings of nearly $8 million is expected.
The field offices are a significant part of Division’s criminal enforcement efforts (amongst other things). While the consolidation plan offers relocation to the 94 lawyers and staff willing to move to Chicago, NY, San Francisco or to Washington, there are quite a few career Division lawyers who have no interest in doing so. The Washington Post reports:
But career antitrust lawyers affected by the plans said they were caught off guard, and they think the plans will result in de facto layoffs as colleagues decide to quit because they are unable or unwilling to move to another city. “There aren’t a lot of people who’ve been with the division a long time who can pick up and move,” said an antitrust attorney based in the Philadelphia office. “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.” Veteran antitrust attorneys from all four targeted offices contacted The Federal Eye and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.
I suspect there will be a lot more written about this in the days and weeks to come.