City firms' M&A work set to plummet

Lawyers are predicting a dramatic drop in mergers and acquisitions work because of client fears over the millennium bug.

John Tucker, banking partner at Linklaters, says: “Lawyers are speculating about how deals may be suspended. People are seeking to avoid completion dates over this period.

“Banking lawyers are consulting about what degree work flows may be affected. For example, interest rate fixing by banks in this period may be affected because the reliability of information may be uncertain.” A senior partner at Clifford Chance says: “Who wants to buy a company that may fall over and die on 31 December?” He says the large volume of corporate and banking work lawyers are handling now may be because companies are speeding up deals before the millennium.