A new year is upon us, but COVID-19 is still making Biglaw firms to adjust their return-to-office plans in our “post”-pandemic world. The omicron variant remains a disruptive force across the country. Many law firms were once hopeful that January 2022 would be when they’d finally be able to get their workforces back to the office. Those plans — like most plans related to returning to our pre-corona lives — have been foiled yet again.
Quite a few US firms have already revised their return-to-office plans (see here, here, here, and here). The latest firms to announce changes to their office return plans are just going with the viral flow, and will reconsider their efforts if and when they can.
Morrison & Foerster and Paul Weiss were hoping to make their grand returns to the office in January and February, and those plans are now being rescheduled (again). Reuters has the details:
Morrison & Foerster, which previously set an office return date of Feb. 14, will keep attendance voluntary until at least March 1, a firm representative confirmed on Friday. …
San Francisco-founded Morrison & Foerster is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, and “strongly” encouraging boosters, for those going into its U.S. offices, the representative said.
As for Paul Weiss, the firm is now extending its work-from-home orders to February 14. Employees were previously told they could work remotely until January 24. Once everyone is back to the office, they’ll be expected to work there at least three days each week. Paul Weiss is requiring everyone to be boosted before entering the office.
Other firms still, like Sheppard Mullin, are adopting indefinite delays for their RTO plans.
The Los Angeles-founded firm pushed its office return from Feb. 7 to a date to be determined, firm chair Lucantonio Salvi said in an internal memo dated Jan. 14.
Vaccinated employees are free to work in Sheppard Mullin’s offices if they prefer, Salvi said. The firm will give 30 days’ notice before setting a new return date, after which employees will have to work in the office at least three days per week, the memo said.
What has your firm announced as far as a revised reopening plan due to the omicron variant? The more information is out there, the more likely it is that firms will be able to establish a new market standard for a return.
As soon as you find out about reopening plans 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.