Firms have postponed their plans to reopen throughout October as the pandemic is uncertain and ongoing. With a growing number of companies suspending their office return plans, there is a higher chance that November or beyond may see more employees working from home.
Some Companies To Defer Returns
The recent announcement by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr that they will postpone their return to work followed a similar statement from Crowell & Moring. These two firms are among the latest to defer their returns but are also among the few to not announce new schedules. The reason for this is likely due to the rise in COVID-19 infection.
Those Returning To Work
There are also new return-to-work dates for Shriver & Jacobson, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Frank, Fried, Harris, and Debevoise & Plimpton in November, so they will all be back at work.
Even though they may be returning to the workforce in some capacity, the firms all stated that they will not expect lawyers and staff to return to their positions full-time until next year.
No Specific Opening Hours
Crowell has decided that it won’t sanction mandatory office hours for attorneys. The firm will determine the office hours on a flexible basis with cohorts of attorneys. The decision by the firm’s management not to mandate attendance hours or days is a response to real-world changes because of the pandemic.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, but people are working so that the people affected can make it through in good shape. People need to take care of themselves and evolve towards their new normal.
Crowell’s plans to bring its employees back on October 11 came up short. It has now decided to give employees at least 30 days’ notice before its soft reopening. It will be hard for the employees because of Thanksgiving, but it is happening nonetheless after Thanksgiving.
WilmerHale’s leadership has not offered further details on how open-office plans will move beyond October 4.
Akin Gump and Debevoise intend to return on November 8, while Fried Frank plans to return in part on November 1. From their reopening until the end of the year, all three firms’ leaders said in internal letters to staff that they want lawyers to work at least one or two days a week in the office setting. Some employees at Akin Gump and Fried Frank may be requested to work additional days.
According to a statement from Debevoise’s presiding partner Michael Blair, the expectation is that attorneys and personnel will be in the office two-thirds of the time starting on January 10.
As of yet, neither Akin Gump nor Fried Frank has made any preparations for the following year.
Leaders from Debevoise, Crowell, Fried Frank and Akin Gump have said they would continue to limit office access to vaccinated staff. They will demand all workers to follow local COVID-19 policy, as do most other large companies.