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Flying during a pandemic A man wearing a mask required by United Airlines waits on the tarmac for his oversized carry on luggage. Photo: Ryland West/ALM

McGuireWoods managing partner Tracy Walker used to get on an airplane at least once a week before the pandemic, traveling from his base in Richmond, Virginia, to meet with clients, attend events or visit one of the firm’s 20-plus offices. Over the past year, he says, his travel has been a fraction of that—and the fact that he’s traveled at all makes him the exception among law firm leaders.

As business travel nearly vanished in response to the pandemic, partner retreats were postponed, client visits went by the wayside (at least in person), and business development was pulled off the road. But with the vaccine rollout proceeding at a steady clip and many firms planning for a September return to the office, frequent flyers like Walker and his fellow firm leaders are slowly preparing to resume traveling for work. Just don’t expect it to look quite the same.

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Ben Seal

Ben Seal is managing editor of The American Lawyer. He joined the magazine in February 2018, and previously spent five years working for The Legal Intelligencer, editing the paper's magazines and supplements and reporting on Pennsylvania's state courts, legislature and Attorney General's Office. Contact him at [email protected] or @BSealTAL.

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