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PAUL HASTY - Some law firm leaders may have taken the recent relaxing of mask requirements around the U.S. as a cue that life was returning to its pre-pandemic state. But as Law.com’s Patrick Smith reports, Am Law 50 firm Paul Hastings recently learned the hard way that there’s no going back—at least not five days a week. On May 28, the firm issued an internal memo outlining its office return policy, saying that “by default, we should work from the office when we are able.” But in a June 22 follow-up memo obtained by Law.com, the “by default” language used in the first memo was absent. What’s more, the firm said it was issuing another statement to “allay any potential concerns or misperceptions about our September 7 return to work plan” and “to reinforce that remote work and increasing levels of flexibility in our work arrangements will remain hallmarks of how we operate.” So what exactly happened? A recruiter, speaking on background, told Smith they started receiving inquiries from associates at Paul Hastings looking to make a move just after the May 28 memo was sent. “It sounds like Paul Hastings got wind of some of that and said ‘never mind, we’re only going to expect you to come in a minimum of three days a week,’” the recruiter said. Maybe the firm’s first memo would have gone over better if it had hired everyone their own personal trainer?

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