Over the past few months a common theme has emerged amongst elite law firms nationwide, firm management is pressing for return to office. Based on our discussions with law firms and associates, by far the most common policy is 3 days per week in the office. Some firms allow associates to choose which days, while other firms are mandating Tuesday-Thursday (with a few exceptions who are requiring Tuesday and Wednesday with the third day being chosen by the associate).
The reasoning for the return to office is not entirely clear. Many firms have indicated they feel training is better in person, and they have concerns about new associates’ development. While this may have some merit, many of these new associates are frustrated when they arrive to an empty office with no partners. Understandably, it is frustrating to take a zoom meeting with a remote partner while you sit in your office against your will (especially when said partner is at their beach house).
Further, there is no denying that attorneys can effectively represent clients while working in large part remotely. Some highly prestigious law firms are still fully remote, and most biglaw firms had banner years while operating remotely. The rise of technological tools like remote depositions has changed the game for many practice groups. Attorneys can depose a witness in California from their home office while their child sleeps in the other room. Saving time on a commute can also be the difference between spending quality time with your children versus a quick goodnight kiss before bed.
Ultimately, law firms are in the talent industry. Clients pay top dollar for top talent. Competition for attorney talent remains fierce and flexible work arrangements may be necessary to recruit and retain talent, especially in competitive practice groups.
Are you looking for positions offering flexible arrangements? Message our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you find the position which is best for you and your family.