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PERSUASIVE AUTHORITY - Last month, Sullivan & Cromwell told lawyers and staff it was “strongly encouraging”—but not mandating!—a return to the office. That approach garnered some criticism from industry observers for potentially sending mixed messages. Still, a number of other firms appear to be taking a similar tack. As Law.com’s Bruce Love reports, Arent Fox and Baker McKenzie, for example, both say they expect to allow for some level of flexibility when it comes to post-pandemic remote work but, like a number of other firms, appear reluctant to define exactly what that means, instead emphasizing individual responsibility in their recently announced office return policies. Colin Murray, CEO of the North America region at Baker, said coming back to the office is “voluntary,” but “we’re hoping people follow the guidance of coming in at least three days a week.” Meanwhile, when Arent Fox’s offices reopen fully Sept. 6, the firm is expecting staff and lawyers to maintain a “routine physical presence” there, but isn’t planning to specify how many days they must show up each week. Instead, firmwide managing partner Cristina Carvalho said, the firm is asking its people to exercise “good judgment.”
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