While law firms work to find ways to manage the “new normal” of hybrid work, associates and new lawyers are also figuring out what working style fits their needs and allows them to be most effective.

A majority of firms accept a great deal of flexibility in the post-pandemic workplace. At the same time, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has a policy of allowing attorneys to work from anywhere. As far as what style most prominent law firms will settle on, it appears that the jury is still out.

Many firms now consider remote candidates, particularly when there is such a tremendous need for personnel. However, most experienced attorneys favor an environment where colleagues share space and time. Jennie Simmons, a partner at Locke Lord, says, “I strongly believe that there are certain things you miss out on when you are not present in the office and around your clients and colleagues, including mentorship, collaboration and friendship.”

Dan Packel has written several articles for his law.com series, The Law Firm Disrupted, on the subject of the hybrid workplace. These articles address topics such as hiring and productivity, and they offer some guidance as to how the legal world may be proceeding.

Packel points out that associates are “overwhelmingly in favor of hybrid arrangements, with few wanting to spend five days a week at home indefinitely or travel to the office five days a week.” 

Still, it’s a tough time for associates who are trying to figure out what their firms’ plans might be. According to the 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey, most associates prefer a hybrid work environment and feel that their firms aren’t communicating their back-to-office plans sufficiently.

For more career advancement success stories, check out the “How I Made It” Q&A series on Law.com

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