Much like the coronavirus itself, law firm reopening plans keep changing. Thanks to the Delta variant, many firms are rethinking their office return guidelines — and some are now requiring their employees to be vaccinated.
Lowenstein Sandler — a firm that brought in gross revenue of $350.1 million in 2020 — had previously “strongly encouraged” employees to get vaccinated, but when the firm first detailed its reopening plan back in April, vaccination was not required for anyone to return to the office. It took just a few months and a pandemic of the unvaccinated for the firm to switch gears.
While Lowenstein reports that “well over 90% of our people have been vaccinated,” management has updated guidelines for people to return to the office if they so desire. Here’s an excerpt from a memo sent earlier this week by Gary Wingens, chairman and managing partner of the firm:
In light of the progress we have made in making people feel comfortable returning to the office on a voluntary basis this summer, and the emergence of the more virulent Delta variant over the past few weeks, we are updating our return to office guidance as follows:
- Effective as of Monday, August 2nd, our offices will only be open to employees who have been fully vaccinated (which means two weeks beyond your last shot).
In addition, the firm is now considering continuing its voluntary in-office policy beyond Labor Day and putting off the next phase of its reopening plan — i.e., employees working in the office “most of the time” (three or more days each week) — that was to begin after Labor Day on September 7.
Will vaccinations become a requirement to return to the office thanks to the Delta variant? Based on policies we’ve seen from law firms recently, full vaccination for a full office return certainly seems to be becoming a trend.
(Flip to the next page to see the memo from Lowenstein Sandler.)
What has your firm announced as far as a reopening plan is concerned? The more information is out there, the more likely it is that firms will be able to establish a market standard for a return to the office.
As soon as you find out about the reopening plan at your firm, please email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Office Reopening”) or text us at (646) 820-8477. We always keep our sources on stories anonymous. There’s no need to send a memo (if one exists) using your firm email account; your personal email account is fine. If a memo has been circulated, please be sure to include it as proof; we like to post complete memos as a service to our readers. You can take a photo of the memo and attach as a picture if you are worried about metadata in a PDF or Word file. Thanks.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.