Legal Law

Biglaw Agency’s Reopening Focuses On Flexibility, With No Minimal Quantity Of In-Workplace Work Days

The first week of June has come and gone, and yet another firm has decided to let its employees know what their eventual return to the office will look like. Loeb & Loeb, ranked 99th in the most recent Am Law 100, with $385,271,000 gross revenue in 2020, is the latest firm to announce its reopening plans, and it looks like the five-day, in-office workweek will be a thing the past.

On Friday, Kenneth Florin, the firm’s chair, laid out Loeb’s plans. With a goal of “allow[ing] for as much flexibility as possible,” the firm will start inviting employees back to the office in three phases: after the July 4th holiday, employees can visit the office voluntarily if they wish; after Labor Day, the firm will encourage a “somewhat more meaningful return to office,” which will last “through at least the end of 2021”; thereafter, Loeb will evaluate its new hybrid way of working to figure out what will the future of the firm will look like.

Here are the highlights from each of the firm’s return-to-office phases (memo available in full on the next page):

  • Phase 1: The firm will host “fun offerings” on certain days each week to make office visits “more meaningful and enjoyable.” Florin emphasizes that “no one should feel obligated to come in during this time” and that employees “should feel no pressure to do so.”
  • Phase 2: The firm will “not be requiring a set minimum number of work days in the office” for attorneys and paralegals; instead, department chairs will arrange a set of guidelines based on department needs, client needs, and individual circumstances. “While we expect many will strive toward an average of 2 or 3 days per week in the office,” Florin notes, “others may make different arrangements which involve them coming in more or fewer days.”
  • Phase 3: The firm’s final phase will start in 2022, and leadership will “use everything we learned during our first two phases to inform our longer term plans” concerning a flexible work environment.

Florin closes his message, recognizing that flexibility is key to work/life balance:

[A]lthough we will be returning to the same physical space we left over a year ago, it is clear that our way of working will be very different than what we are used to. But, hopefully, it will be improved, allowing for more flexibility and a work/life balance that works for each of us while maintaining the nurturing culture that is Loeb. I thank you once again for all your patience and diligence as we work to reintegrate everyone in the most comfortable way possible.

Congratulations to Loeb & Loeb on creating a plan that focuses on flexibility in the next normal — one where lawyers and staffers alike will be able to work remotely as suits their individual needs.

(Flip to the next page to see the full memo from Loeb & Loeb.)

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.

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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