MASK MANDATES AND OTHER MAYHEM - Turns out a global pandemic that alters human life as we know it can create a few sticky wickets. Courts continue to struggle with inconsistent COVID-19 protocols and pushback on reinstituting in-person proceedings, suggesting that even as the Delta variant shows signs of receding in the U.S., getting back to normal—or even proceeding with a new normal—may not be possible any time soon. Our reporters across the country have been tracking these issues throughout the pandemic, including the flare up of a number of new issues in recent weeks. As we explore in the latest Litigation Trendspotter column, some court systems continue to deal with confusion over mask mandates that have, apparently unbeknownst to some, been in place since summertime. Meanwhile, courts are also facing fallout from litigators who are less-than-eager to give up the efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness of remote proceedings.

BONUS ARMY - Here we go again! Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison announced a new round of discretionary bonuses last week and, to the surprise of no one, other firm leaders are now planning their own special rewards for those who have contributed most to meeting exceptional client demand. In fact, at least one, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, has already made its own announcement of an hours-based bonus of up to $40,000 for associates to be awarded in March 2022, just before the firm’s fiscal year ends. And, as’s Patrick Smith, Andrew Maloney and Jessie Yount reported, industry observers expect plenty more of Paul Weiss’ peers to match the firm’s move. “Every time you see an associate compensation bump, for lockstep associate compensation, firms follow suit. Whenever you see the bonuses increasing, firms will follow suit,” said Rob Delicate, co-founder of the New York recruiting firm Erica Robert Associates. Delicate noted that while his shop doesn’t focus on associates, “it would be surprising if we didn’t see a handful [of law firms] following suit, and potentially dozens.”

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