Legal Law

Biglaw Agency That Mentioned Legal professionals Ought to Be In Workplace ‘By Default’ Casually Takes It Again

Now that more and more Biglaw firms have announced their office reopening plans, with policies that include more and more autonomy and remote work options for attorneys, it’s fair to say that firms that previously notified associates that the office would return to being their “default” ball and chain have a few regrets. At least this seems to be what’s happening at Paul Hastings.

Back in May, the firm notified lawyers and staff that as of September 7, they “should be working from the office.” The firm then went one step further, stating that “by default, we should work from the office when we are able.” Needless to say, this did not go over well, prompting much talk about immediate lateral moves.

Late last month, Paul Hastings sent out a second memo, in an attempt to clarify their return-to-office plans. The “by default” terminology was notably absent from the firm’s second memo, replaced by statements about the firm’s prior accomodations for remote work, and its intention to remain a flexible workplace in the post-pandemic world. The American Lawyer has additional details:

While the firm didn’t outright walk back from its earlier stance, the more recent memo stated that the firm “has been an innovator and market leader in flexible working arrangements for over a decade, and we plan to remain a leader.”

In the most telling portion of the memo, the firm stated that it was issuing another statement to “allay any potential concerns or misperceptions about our September 7 return to work plan” and that firm leaders “want to reinforce that remote work and increasing levels of flexibility in our work arrangements will remain hallmarks of how we operate.”

Paul Hastings is the first firm we’re aware of that has made an about face when it comes to their office reopening plans as far as remote work is concerned.

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 work.

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.

Paul Hastings, After Internal Pushback, Clarifies Office Return Stance in Second Memo [American Lawyer]


Staci ZaretskyStaci 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.

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