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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
NO FIRM PLANS - As we’ve noted in this space several times, many law firms have had trouble committing to and/or clearly communicating their return-to-office policies. To the extent that this tentativeness is the result of the ever-shifting nature of the pandemic, it’s probably understandable—but it’s still not doing firms any favors. As Law.com’s Dylan Jackson reports, The American Lawyer’s 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey found that respondents are uneasy about a perceived lack of communication from their firm’s management, especially as it relates to return plans that vary widely in terms of both in-office requirements and the detail firms have provided. “[My firm] has given us the freedom to work remotely; however, they have not clearly communicated a criteria for which return to the office is expected, leading to uncertainty and related anxiety,” said one fourth-year associate in the Washington, D.C., office of a firm near the top of the Am Law ranking. Another respondent—a fourth-year associate at an Am Law 100 firm in New York—said their firm held “biweekly meetings with associates to update them on new developments, firm strategy, and on-the-ground impact on associates” but has, up until very recently, “refused to provide any kind of meaningful explanation of how/when/where we will return to the office.”
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