As we enter year three of the pandemic, we know all the tropes. Yes, we’ve made sourdough. We’ve binged Tiger King. And a bunch of folks got dogs. Now that going back to the office is looking like more and more of a reality, the question is, what do we do with little Fluffy now?
The ABA Journal reports on a growing trend of lawyers who simply refuse to go back to the office if Fido can’t come along. Like Ruth Carter, who, when offered a new job said simply, “Great, I come with a dog.”
The stories of attorneys and their pets really show the lengths some will go to in order to ensure their dog can be with them:
David Reischer, an attorney and CEO with LegalAdvice.com, says he always planned on being self-employed, specifically because he wanted to be with his dog at all times. He’s had six dogs since childhood, and now he can’t imagine being separated from his pet.
Reischer’s current dog is Winter, a pit bull terrier mix with lots of energy who just turned 7. She needs to go to the park twice a day—or else she becomes rambunctious and will tear up the house—and Reischer is happy to oblige.
“Working at home with Winter is so important because her breed is a very energetic type, and she needs constant walks to burn off energy,” Reischer says. “Thankfully, I am self-employed, so I am able to bring Winter to the office when I need, and I mostly work from home.”
Or this attorney who would move offices if there were no pets allowed:
Kris Parker, a co-founding attorney and partner at Hendry & Parker in Dunedin, Florida, has a 12-year-old Boston terrier whom he brings to the law office daily. Parker says Dunkin is a cheerful dog who lifts the morale of visitors and attorneys alike. The clients know his name and look forward to seeing him.
“Law offices and legal matters can be intimidating, and Dunkin takes some of that edge off for most of our clients,” Parker says. “If he were not permitted in our office, I would probably look into working somewhere he is welcome.”
This attorney uses her dog as a screening tool for new hires:
Maria Barlow, a Chicago solo, got two pandemic puppies during the lockdown. When she returned to the office, she brought her terriers without blinking an eye.
“I will not hire new staff who do not like dogs—or whom my dogs do not like,” Barlow says. If clients are scared of her dogs, she leaves the puppies at home briefly during her lunch break, meets with the clients and runs home to grab her dogs. She also doesn’t take in-person cases if she knows they are in-person in advance—so that she can always be present with her dogs. If absolutely necessary, Barlow says, she sends her dogs to their pup nanny. And if she ever needs to quickly run to court because someone is going into custody, she leaves her dogs with her staff.
But most of these anecdotal stories feature small practices or self-employed attorneys. Not sure Biglaw would be nearly as accommodating of Spot.
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).