New York City is the latest part of the state to enter the second phase of its reopening plan, but the move still represents a dramatic turnaround for a city that was once at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the country. Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Friday that New York law firms will be able to resume operations starting June 22, as coronavirus-related trade restrictions in the region ease. As companies look to set a market standard for their return on investment, it`s worth noting that employees overwhelmingly support their company`s remote work policies and hope that a full-time office presence will no longer be necessary in the future — especially now, given the increase in cases thanks to Delta. Bloomberg Law reached out to the top 100 companies in the U.S. by gross revenue through its company-wide office return policy. Almost three-quarters (74) reported allowing some form of work outside the office. Britain`s largest firms told lawyers they would have to work from home again on December 10, and U.S. firms followed a few weeks later.
The delays have disrupted plans for companies like Wilson Sonsini, who hoped to return to in-person work in early 2022 after the Delta variant postponed its initial reopening in October. Governor Cuomo said New York City is on track to enter the second phase of the state`s reopening program on June 22. Some law firms have already reopened their offices. Norton Rose Fulbright brought back its U.S. staff on Tuesday and expects lawyers to come three days a week, according to a statement from Jeff Cody, the firm`s U.S. managing partner. Bloomberg Law`s analysis shows that while many law firms are keen to bring lawyers into the firm to preserve culture and train younger employees, they recognize that the current delta variant of Covid-19 and the convenience of remote work require them to take a slow approach. Even before the release of the federal mandate, companies reported high vaccination rates among their U.S.
workforce. Duane Morris and Hogan Lovells, who need vaccines, say 95% and 94% of employees have received the vaccines, respectively. Of the 100 companies contacted by Bloomberg Law, 20 did not respond, and six others provided information but declined to discuss whether they would need personal labor. Some current and former Big Law employees say they see strong corporate encouragement as essentially a mandatory policy. Legal recruiters say some employees who feel “intimidated” to work in person are even looking for new jobs that give them more flexibility. While all of this is unfolding, large law firms — many of which are just coming from a second round of special bonuses and raises to keep their lawyers as happy as possible — have weighed their plans to bring their employees back to the office. However, Delta`s rise has prompted some businesses to rethink their reopening protocols. Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo plan to officially reopen on April 4, according to an internal memo. A new emergency regulation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will soon require weekly vaccinations or testing for employers with more than 100 employees, including law firms. The rule occurs on 4. January that many large companies begin to reopen their offices. Lawyers from at least seven firms are returning to the office in February and March, months after variants of Covid-19 delayed initial reopening plans.
Feb. 16 – More of the largest U.S. law firms confirm official office return dates for lawyers and staff as spring approaches, and the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is showing signs of decline in the U.S. Many large law firms have faced uncertainties in return-to-office plans, initially delayed due to the Delta variant last year, followed by Omicron in recent months. The large law firms that have shared their hodgepodge of plans to bring lawyers back to the office have one resounding thing in common: they allow lawyers to work from home, at least temporarily. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York law firms could be allowed to resume their duties as early as June 22. Skadden, McGuireWoods, Seyfarth Shaw and Cadwalader are among the firms where lawyers are required to work in person at least three days a week after the firm officially reopens. While the 74 companies that discussed their plans vary in their schedules and requirements for returning to the office, flexibility is the usual refrain.
He said experts reviewed COVID-19 data and gave the city the green light to enter the second phase of the state`s reopening program on June 22. This phase allows companies to bring office jobs, real estate services and in-store shopping back to the city. At least 23 major businesses have postponed the reopening of their offices until 2022. Eight have not yet set an official date for the return of the office, but plan to give lawyers 25 to 40 days if they choose a date. Industry experts said the firm could set a trend with more than 2,700 lawyers. They said the removal of mask requirements in some states could also trigger a new roadblock of office reopenings. Twenty-nine firms – including Davis Polk, Paul Hastings and Akin Gump – do not or will not require lawyers to work in person after the firm`s official return date. However, these law firms still recommend or encourage face-to-face time each week to encourage lawyers to volunteer in person.