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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

CAN’T GO BACK - As we’ve noted in this space recently, many law firms have been less-than-straightforward in laying out their post-pandemic office return policies, often outwardly projected a posture of flexibility and understanding while appearing to subliminally signal to lawyers and staff that returning in-person sooner rather than later is not actually optional. Let’s call it the “mom guilt” approach: as in, when your mom says that you certainly don’t have to come home for Thanksgiving but she will be cooking and your siblings and extended family will all be flying in and, well, you should just do whatever you think is right. But, as Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, the vague messaging by some firms may have a less nefarious explanation than veiled coercion. Instead, maybe just chalk it up to good old fashioned risk aversion. George Wolf Jr., a law firm consultant for Aon, told Maloney that firms have a general disinclination toward backtracking, which may explain why so many policies thus far have neglected to set a hard return date or fixed number of days that folks must show up to the office. “Most firms don’t want to get out in front of the issue like that for fear of having to reverse course,” he said. “Law firms pay very, very close attention to where their clients come out on these issues, and I don’t think that is known or understood right now.”