Dechert opts for once-a-week office return as more firms go hybrid

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  • Several main U.S. legislation firms holding distant work an possibility, not less than for now
  • Dechert will ask attorneys to be within the office as soon as per week via the top of the 12 months

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(Reuters) – Law firms could differ on when to order attorneys again to the office, however many appear to agree on one factor: In-person does not essentially must imply full-time.

At Dechert, attorneys and employees will likely be inspired to spend a minimal of in the future per week working in individual when the agency reopens its places of work globally on Nov. 8, a spokeswoman mentioned Tuesday.

“We realize some of our people still have concerns and we will continue to be flexible,” she mentioned in an e mail. The association will likely be in place via the top of the 12 months however might be prolonged, she mentioned.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is easing right into a three-day-a-week return starting Nov. 1, based on an Oct. 19 memo reviewed by Reuters. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which is planning to broadly return attorneys and employees to the office on Jan. 4, mentioned it will not mandate any explicit variety of days.

“Lawyers are free to work remotely whenever it is appropriate, taking into account the needs of their clients and their teams,” a agency consultant mentioned.

Beth Cavagnolo of legislation agency administration consultancy Vertex Advisors predicted a major variety of attorneys will likely be again within the office by the primary quarter of subsequent 12 months, assuming no main change within the COVID-19 state of affairs. She mentioned she expects most massive firms will permit hybrid schedules, with attorneys required to spend not less than two or three days per week within the office.

Baker & Hostetler, like Gibson Dunn, is absolutely reopening its places of work on Jan. 4 with the expectation that many workers will preserve versatile in-person schedules.

“We believe that the pandemic has taught us that agility is key,” mentioned Baker & Hostetler chairman Paul Schmidt. “When we come back we’re going to be embracing that agility, so we don’t really expect that we will have our attorneys back full time.”

Nixon Peabody already reopened its places of work on Oct. 4, however the agency mentioned it is permitting a number of versatile choices, together with hybrid, absolutely distant and modified or decreased schedules for some attorneys.

“I think that the future of working in a law firm will involve some combination of office and remote work,” mentioned CEO and managing companion Stephen Zubiago. “It’s hard to predict what the split will be, but I think the future is absolutely going to be some combination.”

Read more:

Trio of Big Law firms set office return dates in coming months

More firms pause office return plans, eying November or past

Law agency leaders play catch-up as virus outlook shifts

Xiumei Dong

Xiumei Dong covers authorized business news, with a give attention to legislation agency technique and progress, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., authorized market. Reach her at Xiumei.Dong@thomsonreuters.com.

Signage is seen outside of the law firm Dechert LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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