Major law firms set reopening dates as pandemic plans change

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  • Vinson & Elkins and Mintz are among major law firms with specified reopening dates
  • Mandatory three-day office work per week is becoming the norm in some companies

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Feb. 16 – More of America’s top law firms are confirming official back-to-office dates for attorneys and staff, as spring approaches and the Omicron variant of COVID-19 shows signs of waning in the US. United States

Vinson & Elkins’ management team said in an internal memo Monday that the Texas-based company’s attorneys and staff should be in the office at least three days a week starting March 1.

Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo are planning an official reopening on April 4, according to an internal memo.

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The 500-lawyer firm, which previously pushed back the Jan. 4 return date, has asked attorneys to come into the office 60% of the time, though the firm remains flexible, according to the memo.

Many large law firms have struggled with the uncertainty of return-to-office plans, which suffered delays first due to the Delta variant last year, followed by Omicron in recent months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday there had been a 40% drop in the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases and the daily average of hospital admissions had also fallen by 28. %.

Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis, one of the world’s largest law firms, said in a Feb. 7 memo first published by Above the Law that it expects its lawyers to be at the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting March 29.

Industry experts said the firm of more than 2,700 lawyers could set a trend. They said removing mask mandates in some states could also spur a new round of office reopenings.

Some law firms have already reopened their offices. Norton Rose Fulbright brought back its US staff on Tuesday and expects attorneys to come three days a week, according to a statement from Jeff Cody, the firm’s US managing partner.

Companies have also had to think about whether to require vaccinations and the wearing of a mask to enter the office.

Mintz said in December he would make vaccines and boosters mandatory. The company said in its Wednesday memo that it would review the “jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction” masking rules.

Vinson & Elkins has implemented a vaccine requirement, but no booster requirement, and does not require masks for vaccinated workers, a company spokesperson said.

(The story has been updated to include a statement about Norton Rose Fulbright’s U.S. managing partner returning to office).

Read more:

As Omicron fades, plan to return Kirkland offices could help set legal industry trend

Omicron fears cause further delays in reopening law firm offices

Law firms in white shoes shy away from office reopenings

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