Legal Law

Davis Polk’s Reopening Plan Consists of Three-Four In-Workplace Days, And Floating Distant Workweeks

Davis Polk is law firm responsible for both the new compensation scale and special bonuses that have spread through Biglaw like wildfire. Now that the firm is planning the official reopening of its offices across the country, associates may not like what’s in store for them — but it’s not like they can really afford to complain.

Earlier this week, firm chairman and managing partner Neil Barr notified associates that starting in September, they’d be expected to be in the office at least seven out of every 10 business days. During this trial period, lawyers will “generally” be expected in the office three or four days each week. The firm’s in-office trial will end at the conclusion of 2021, and office policies will be updated as needed in 2022.

As detailed in the American Lawyer, lawyers at the firm will get one remote workweek during the trial period, where they can choose to work remotely for five consecutive days of their choosing (without taking vacation time to do it). Per Barr, in 2022, the firm may adopt additional floating remote weeks.

Barr wrote the plan was an attempt “to strike a balance that cultivates our unrivaled culture — a balance that captures the genuine good that has come from remote working, like greater flexibility in managing personal and professional lives, and the challenges, like supporting a team orientation and a feeling of community.”

Over the last year or so, Barr said, a lot has been learned about what works in a remote environment, and that he’s proud of how the firm responded during the pandemic.

“But our business is built on personal relationships. In-person interaction is crucial to supporting and cultivating our culture of teamwork and collaboration for lawyers and business services personnel alike and to continuing to develop our associates through mentoring programs and our best-in-class training curriculum,” Barr wrote.

“I am excited for all that is to come for the Davis Polk community as we move toward our next chapter, and, most importantly,” Barr concluded. “I look forward to seeing you all again soon.”

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.

Davis Polk Plans ‘Trial Period’ for Office Return, Requiring In-Office Work 7 Out of Every 10 Business Days [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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