Lawyer says looming shutdown could be bad news for law professionals

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The last government shutdown was the longest in US history. There's a possibility for another.

Negotiators in the White House have five days to reach a deal regarding a wall at the southern border.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby said a shutdown should never be an option.

"Shutting down the government should always be off the table," he said. "We would like for it to be off the table. We've worked hard to fund the government, we're going to continue to work hard in these negotiations, but the specter of a shutdown is always out there."

If there's another shutdown, not only would hundreds of thousands of government workers be affected again, it could also impact those who defend those workers in a court of law.

"If you're representing government contractors, companies that are government contractors that may keep you from getting your legal fees paid," explained local lawyer Mark McDaniel.

"If you've got the FBI and the justice department, if they were to say 'Okay, we're not getting paid, we're not going to investigate these cases, we're not going to go to court,' that would certainly would affect a whole lot of things," he continued.

McDaniel said there's a case pileup even with a fully functional government.

"You have prosecutors, assistant district attorneys that have 600 or 700 cases, you shut this thing down for a month, or two months - actually shut it down? You're going to have a backlog like you haven't seen."

While certain cases could be impacted by another shutdown, McDaniel said criminal cases would not be affected in any way.

If no deal is reached by negotiators in Washington, D.C.  by February 15, the president could declare a national emergency at our country's southern border.

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