Legal Law

Biglaw Associates Holding Public Well being Hostage In Bid To Maintain Working From Residence

We all — like as a society — have to pull together to get COVID behind us. I know, you know. But with rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories just as contagious as the Delta variant, well, it feels like an uphill battle. The full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine helps, and Biglaw is even doing its part. We have a growing list of over 50 elite firms that are requiring proof of vaccination to get into their offices, a move designed to encourage the hesitant to get the shot.

But that doesn’t mean some people aren’t trying to make this all about them. As reported by Jessie Yount at Law.com, now some associates are getting all bent out of shape over this VERY OBVIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH move:

Associates aren’t fond of mandates in general, despite the fact that a vast majority of the group appears to be vaccinated, according to Lorraine Connally, a Los Angeles-based recruiter at Swan Legal Search.

These young lawyers want “a voice and a choice,” Connally said, noting that law firms that make their associates feel like stakeholders by actively involving them in such decisions are likely to have a more cohesive culture.

Sure, I getting wanting a “voice,” but this isn’t which computers the firm is going to buy, this is a literal matter of life and death. The only relevant choice should be which arm you get your shot in. Get with the damn program and apply this faux-rage somewhere actually productive.

And some are apparently using it as a negotiation chip in advocating for flexible work arrangements:

“There is some interplay of younger lawyers being able to identify that we can work from home and have flexibility if we don’t get vaccinated,” said Jennifer Henderson, a Southern California-based recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa. “It all ties into being able to remain in a flexible situation.”

That is some BULLSHIT. Holding public health hostage because you don’t want to commute to the office four days a week is a terrible idea. And frankly, shows awful judgment that reflects poorly on your ability to lawyer. None of which is to say employers shouldn’t implement flexible work arrangements for all employees. We now know that Biglaw churns hours just as well with the flexibility to work from home, so professionals should be able to avail themselves of that within their discretion. But to use vaccination as part of a bargaining ploy? Especially when children, who cannot get vaccinated yet, and the immunocompromised, for whom the vaccine is less effective, are depending on everyone to get the vaccine? That is just incredibly problematic.

At least some firms already see through this horseshit:

Some firms have already made clear this attitude will not be tolerated. For example, Goodwin specified in an internal memo this month that “non-vaccination status will not be considered a legitimate reason to support 100% remote work.”

Let’s hope Biglaw coalesces around that idea, and the vaccination policies continue to spread. Because we really need everyone to make it to a post-COVID world.


Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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