As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread among the unvaccinated, hospitals are preparing for another surge in patients and cases. Throughout it all, law firms across the country are reconsidering their reopenings, and more and more are mandating vaccines for employees to return to the office.
Thus far, the firms that have made vaccination a requirement for those returning to the office include Cooley, Clifford Chance, Davis Wright Tremaine, Lowenstein Sandler, Paul Weiss, Sanford Heisler, and Weil Gotshal. Now, we can add another three firms to the list. Fenwick & West, Hanson Bridgett, and Hueston Hennigan all recently added vaccination mandates to their safety protocols.
As reported in The Recorder, Fenwick & West managing partner Rodger Cole noted that his firm has implemented a vaccine mandate as part of its health and safety procedures during its soft opening. “We have already opened our offices in a limited capacity to firm personnel only, and we require all personnel to be vaccinated before coming into our offices,” he said. The firm will “continue to provide wide latitude and flexibility for remote work” through the end of 2021.
Hanson Bridgett introduced its vaccine mandate last week, with managing partner Kristina Lawson explaining in a firmwide memo that the new policy would apply “for anyone working in or visiting any of Hanson Bridgett’s five physical office locations or attending a firm-sponsored event at other locations.” The firm will provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. Ninety-three percent of its personnel are already fully vaccinated.
Employees were encouraged to return to Hueston Hennigan on a voluntary basis starting on June 15, with one requirement: vaccination, with proof. The firm had been planning a full return to the office after Labor Day, but the new surge of COVID infections has made management start to rethink things. “With the current variant and guidance on wearing masks, it’s changed the circumstances. We’re paying close attention,” said managing partner Brian Hennigan.
Will your firm be changing its plans when it comes to vaccination for attorneys and staff thanks to the Delta variant? Please let us know.
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.