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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION… - Remember all that stuff about how the pandemic was going to change the legal industry forever? No more cavernous law firm offices! No more flying cross-country for hour-long client meetings! The remote revolution! That was cute, wasn’t it? In the span of 16 months, the legal industry has gone from fearing remote work to begrudgingly accepting it as a temporary nuisance to embracing it as the wave of the future—and now, at least in some corners, back to fearing it again. Much handwringing has occurred recently—including in that controversial letter from Morgan Stanley Chief Legal Officer Eric Grossman—about how young lawyers will learn and how collaboration will occur in a setting where not everyone is present in the same office suite at the same time. But as we explore in this week’s Law.com Trendspotter column, even with some big-name clients tugging firms back toward their office-centric pasts, a powerful talent market continues to demand a more flexible future. Professional development and firm culture can be fostered in a remote environment, but it will require this notoriously risk-averse industry to abandon “the way we’ve always done things” for longer than a year-and-a-half. And if more in-house counsel follow Grossman’s lead, firms may also find themselves having to choose between alienating their clients and alienating their talent. I’m interested to hear what you think: Do law firms have an obligation to their people to figure out how to make flexible work arrangements viable in the long-term—even if clients object? Let me know at [email protected].