Editor’s note: This list of Atlanta firms’ current remote-work policies is being updated as we get word from firms. Please send updates to email@example.com
Alston & Bird
The firm instituted a comprehensive remote work policy, effective March 16. “We have asked everyone to work remotely through at least the end of the month—and then we will assess, based on the latest public health information,” Alston’s chairman, Richard Hays, told the Daily Report on Monday.
“All of our lawyers and timekeepers have laptops that mirror the capabilities they have in the office—and we have a robust IT infrastructure,” Hays added. “The hope and the effort is to be socially responsible—to take the steps we need to take to knock this thing out while at the same time being available to our clients.”
Atlanta Legal Aid Society
Legal Aid closed all physical offices to the public on March 16 and instituted a mandatory remote work policy for all employees. The legal nonprofit is handling new client intake remotely, and phone lines from its five metro Atlanta county offices are being routed to receptionists at home, executive director Steve Gottlieb said in an email.
“Luckily, our wonderful IT director and case management system administrator snapped into action and are making it possible for our staff at all levels to create a virtual office at home,” he said. “It is important that we remain accessible to our clients during this pandemic which will undoubtedly affect our clients in intense ways.”
Legal Aid currently plans to reopen its offices to the public on Monday, March 30, but will continue to assess as the situation unfolds.
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
AVLF closed all locations on March 16, and the staff is operating remotely. That limits some services to the public as outlined in a FAQ. For instance, the group has closed its walk-in Safe Families Office at the Fulton County Courthouse, which aids those experiencing intimate partner violence. Instead, staff attorneys are helping people obtain protective orders via phone. AVLF also has canceled or postponed March trainings and events.
At plaintiffs firm Beasley Allen, lawyers are working remotely, with staff in the office to maintain operations. The firm’s offices in Atlanta and Montgomery are closed to visitors. “Steps have been taken to isolate on-site staff for their safety and the safety of others,” said a firm representative in a March 23 email. “We continue to monitor this developing situation, and will adjust our response accordingly. The health and safety of our clients, lawyers, co-counsel and staff is paramount.”
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Bryan Cave has asked all lawyers and staff to work from home, with a skeleton staff in the office on a rotating basis to maintain essential functions. As of March 19, Atlanta managing partner Eric Schroeder estimated that 95% of the office’s personnel were working from home. “We have enough people here [in the office] to get done what needs to be done, but almost everyone is working from home,” he said, adding that the policy is in effect indefinitely.
Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell
Copeland Stair has recommended that all lawyers and staff work from home, said managing partner Shannon Sprinkle in a March 20 email, adding that they have full remote access. The litigation defense firms’ Atlanta headquarters and satellite offices in Chattanooga and Charleston remain open to serve clients, but the firm is limiting entry to necessary visitors only and enforcing social distancing. Sprinkle, executive committee members and department heads have remained on-site with a skeleton staff to handle mail, scanning and select accounting functions. “We are holding firm-wide and team-wide conference calls, virtual meetings, and similar communication events to do periodic check-ins, both on client matters and personal well-being,” she said.
“We are encouraging our lawyers and staff to work remotely and to conduct internal and external meetings virtually,” the firm said in a March 17 email. “We are operating at full capacity, and we will continue to provide uninterrupted and high-quality service using the technology and protocols we have put in place.”
Davis, Zipperman, Kirschenbaum & Lotito
The Poncey-Highland boutique law firm has been operating remotely since March 16, said co-founder Seth Kirschenbaum in a March 23 email.
Drew Eckl & Farnham
Drew Eckl instituted a mandatory remote work policy on March 16, except for a skeleton staff of about a dozen people: managing partner Joe Chancey, department heads and records staff to scan and distribute mail. Chancey said they are working from separate offices and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance.
To keep operations running smoothly, Duane Morris said on March 20, it has ”expanded our secure, remote computer access to accommodate our staff in addition to our lawyers.”
Eversheds Sutherland on March 17 tightened up the voluntary remote work policy for its U.S. offices that it had rolled out on March 16 to restrict all but essential personnel from working on-site. “We took a stronger stance today [March 17] to say that, barring a real need to be in the office, we expect all employees to be working from home with a handful of operational staff [on-site],” said Eversheds Sutherland’s U.S. co-chair, Mark Wasserman.
The trans-Atlantic firm, which has U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, adopted remote work policies for its Asia offices in January, when the coronavirus outbreak started in China, followed by those in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. “We will review the situation on a week-by-week basis but anticipate our teams will be working remotely for the next several weeks,” according to an email from the firm.
Fisher & Phillips
Fisher & Phillips required all attorneys and staff to work remotely or take paid time off as of March 20. The national labor and employment firm has restricted office access at its Atlanta headquarters to only a few key employees on-site. “Don’t just ‘drop in’ as that defeats our plan,” the firm instructed personnel in a March 19 email, since the purpose is to “maintain social distancing and the health and safety of our key employees on-site.”
Fried Goldberg is in its second week of “strongly encouraging our lawyers and staff to work from home,” said co-founder Joe Fried in a March 23 email. “All attorneys and staff have the equipment and training to work remotely with secure connection to client files. Phones are forwarded. One person currently retrieves mail, which is scanned and distributed electronically. We are using zoom for video conferencing.”
Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske
Gray Rust instituted mandatory remote-work operations on March 16 for the 52-person litigation defense firm. Only firm administrator Laura Bass and her team are in the office, she said in a March 20 email. The firm prepared in advance by asking staff to submit remote-work plans so it could efficiently distribute work. The firm already used the cloud for its remote systems, so bandwidth wasn’t an issue, and it bought additional webcams and expanded its Zoom usage for communications. “Everyone is working hard and being productive, and we are teleconferencing to stay connected,” Bass said.
Harris Lowry Manton
Everyone at the plaintiffs firm started working remotely last week, said co-founder Jeff Harris in a March 24 email. “All our staff have access to our secure servers and have laptops and voip phones. We are somewhat fortunate because we have an office in Savannah and Atlanta so we have always been capable of teleworking,” Harris said, adding that the firm scaled down its office operations last Monday and went to all-remote on Thursday. The firm’s lawyers and staff are using Zoom to stay connected internally, as well as Facebook and Skype with clients and outside lawyers.
The family law firm started a voluntary remote work policy on March 16, which it is assessing regularly, firm leader Randy Kessler told the Daily Report at the time. The firm’s office is officially open the week of March 16, but its 20 lawyers and staff all have the ability to work remotely.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
“While our offices remain open, we are strongly encouraging firm attorneys and professional staff to work remotely,” the firm said in a March 16 email. The policy is in effect for as long as circumstances dictate.
King & Spalding
King & Spalding implemented a two-week remote work policy for attorneys and staff, effective March 16. Rotating teams are providing core administrative support, such as reception, mail and copying from the firm’s offices. The firm will determine whether to extend it as developments unfold.
Midtown litigation boutique Knight Palmer has temporarily closed its office and is working remotely, the firm said in a March 24 email. The firm is not conducting in-person events, such as client meetings or depositions “until the threat of doing so has passed.”
Morris Manning & Martin
Morris Manning on March 16 implemented mandatory remote work for at least two weeks. Offices are still open, but with only a handful of essential staff on the premises in rotating teams.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.
The firm’s Atlanta office is still open, but it has asked lawyers and other timekeepers to work remotely. Starting March 23, it is staggering support staff’s days in the office, so each will come in only two days from Monday through Thursday, and all will work remotely on Friday.
Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart
Ogletree asked lawyers and staff to work remotely, effective March 17, and is using a rotating team of lean staff onsite in its Atlanta headquarters.
Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs
Parker Hudson instituted mandatory remote-working on March 16 for at least two weeks. The office is closed to visitors and only one firm leader and a small skeleton crew are in the office. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and we are prepared to react as quickly as necessary to protect our people and clients,” said marketing director Robyn Maehlman in a March 20 email.
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
Parker Poe shifted all operations to a mandatory remote-work status on March 17, but the Charlotte-based firm’s offices were open with a skeleton crew to handle essential functions. The firm has not set a timetable for the remote-work policy, but it has a task force convening daily to assess conditions.
Rogers & Hardin
Rogers & Hardin asked lawyers and staff to work remotely effective March 17. Essential on-site services are being maintained in the office via a rotating team.
Swift, Currie, Mcghee & Hiers
As of March 16, the litigation defense firm was on a remote-work basis, with just a skeleton crew to handle mail and IT in its 100,000 square foot Midtown office. That included managing partner Terry Brantley—but he closed his door and affixed a note asking people not to come inside. “It’s easier to be more cautious,” Brantley told the Daily Report, expressing a wish that everyone would shut their activities down as much as possible. He encourages frequent hand-washing, lunches brought from home and a quick exit to the garage.
Troutman asked lawyers and staff to work remotely, as of March 17. “Essential on-site services will be maintained in each office,” the firm said in an email.
Womble Bond Dickinson
“As a firm, we are strongly encouraging people to work from home, have postponed or canceled firm-sponsored events, and have stopped all nonessential travel. We have the technology infrastructure in place to allow us to operate as normal while working remotely,” the firm said in a March 16 email.