Formal WFH policies

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bob311

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Formal WFH policies

Post by bob311 » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:49 pm

Hi all,

On a committee at my firm looking at our future post-covid wfh policy. It would be great if anyone’s firm has issued formal guidance on what post-covid wfh will look like - if it’s going to be a permanent wfh option, 2/3x a week wfh, etc. I would appreciate any information. I need to present a case to our management committee and they are very swayed about what the market is doing. I plan on bringing up Winston’s move to hiring fully remote associates, but more formal policies would be great, or at least policies that are being workshopped.

Edit - looking for the broadest policies out there - my firm’s associates want a permanent wfh with the option of 1-2 days a week at the office if necessary, but we need other examples or our management committee will laugh us out of the room.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:38 pm

I'm on the associates committee at my firm and vast majority of our associates (90%+) also want WFH all but 1-2 days a week. No formal policy yet but there is strong associate demand

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm

Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm
Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.
Being a parent of very young kids, I will absolutely be finding a new job if I have to go back to the office more than a few days a week. And, if the policy isn't such that associates believe it and we fall into the peer pressure of going in, I'm also out. There flatly just aren't enough good reasons to force office time.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm
Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.
Being a parent of very young kids, I will absolutely be finding a new job if I have to go back to the office more than a few days a week. And, if the policy isn't such that associates believe it and we fall into the peer pressure of going in, I'm also out. There flatly just aren't enough good reasons to force office time.
Agree 100%. As a parent, WFH has totally transformed my life. I've already started interviewing with firms that are advertising post-COVID fully remote positions. My firm may end up going fully remote when they eventually make the decision, but for me it's not worth the risk to wait it out if I can secure a fully remote position now.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:30 pm

Nothing to add other than to echo everyone else in this thread and also note that I think WFH policies will be an advertising device for firms going forward. I imagine that firms that don't allow some type of WFH will be left behind.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by cisscum » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm
Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.
Being a parent of very young kids, I will absolutely be finding a new job if I have to go back to the office more than a few days a week. And, if the policy isn't such that associates believe it and we fall into the peer pressure of going in, I'm also out. There flatly just aren't enough good reasons to force office time.
Agree 100%. As a parent, WFH has totally transformed my life. I've already started interviewing with firms that are advertising post-COVID fully remote positions. My firm may end up going fully remote when they eventually make the decision, but for me it's not worth the risk to wait it out if I can secure a fully remote position now.
Are these partner track, market paying positions? V50?

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:38 pm

cisscum wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm
Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.
Being a parent of very young kids, I will absolutely be finding a new job if I have to go back to the office more than a few days a week. And, if the policy isn't such that associates believe it and we fall into the peer pressure of going in, I'm also out. There flatly just aren't enough good reasons to force office time.
Agree 100%. As a parent, WFH has totally transformed my life. I've already started interviewing with firms that are advertising post-COVID fully remote positions. My firm may end up going fully remote when they eventually make the decision, but for me it's not worth the risk to wait it out if I can secure a fully remote position now.
Are these partner track, market paying positions? V50?
Yes, V50 market pay. Specifically discussed partnership in my interviews. Obviously, as I get more senior, if I want to go for partner, would need to show my face in the office more often. People have recently been promoted to counsel here and have secured fully remote post-COVID.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:59 pm
Good luck and thank you for carrying the torch. A few things I think are massive benefits to WFH at about 2-3 days a week:

- Much better for parents (I actually think this the biggest upside). Can now see children and eat dinner together / be at bedtime / help w homework on a reasonably consistent basis

- Less commute time = more time for basic life stuff that is hard to accomplish in a crazy week

- Flexibility to visit extended family while still plugged in

- More ability to live in affordable suburbs and build an adult life will keep people around longer (most of us don't want to live 1.5 - 2 hrs away from office but that’s really the only option in Bay Area / NYC for good and affordable suburbs that are desirable for older associates (mids / srs).

- It is optional. As long we are all working toward the same goal (client service), we shouldn’t be wedded to a 1-size fits all approach. Many will still want to be in the office everyday (geared more toward younger associates who are still into the city life). This will keep the office “buzz” alive

- We work ALL the time anyway...one of the best arguments against remote work is to my mind that you worry about nothing happening during the work day. Our job is always on anyway. Once we leave the office, we hop back online at home if clients need it, so our industry is really the perfect one for remote work in a significant manner.

Also should consider 1 week a month in office and then rest remote.
I am 3L who is heading to a V40 this fall. I am all for WFH/remote and hope my firm institutes at least 2-3 wfh days a week (and hoping for full remote or a 1 week in the office per month setup), but do you and other biglaw veterans think that doing so would be detrimental for jr associates? I can see the argument for both that it would not have much of an effect on the training of young associates and that it could negatively affect. The benefits of WFH might outweigh any lack of training though.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:29 pm

Yes, something will be lost, but there is much much more to be gained in terms of the ability to stay in the job longer term. It’s hard to explain how hard it can be to have an actual family life that functions reasonably well while being a high performer in big law. If I were a first year, I would be in the office with a lot of frequency bc I would want to watch and observe how things are done. As you become more seasoned, I would WFH more often (eg, 2-3 days a week or more if allowed). Office buzz will remain despite reports to the contrary. That is why firms should adopt liberal WFH policies - gives people flexibility to stay in the game long term and I don’t think there is any threat to the culture / office dynamic. And if your force people back against their will, then the office dynamic will be really ugly bc morale will tank and people will find shops that will be more permissive (enough out there now and more coming, so assume a market will develop).

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:56 pm

FWIW: I'm currently still a law student heading into BL post-grad, but I consistently receive recruiting email forwards from the circuit I interned with. Most of the firms/government positions, if not all, say something about anticipating a hybrid work form going forward.

bob311

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by bob311 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:00 pm

Bump. Just spoke to one partner who told me that we would be lucky if we get 1 day of wfh post covid.

Need more policies/news to help counter this line of thinking!

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:24 pm

What type of firm and market? That seems really restrictive - maybe litigation heavy in smaller market? I’ve been hearing 2-3 days a week WFH and no going back till at least fall and likely next year mandatory.

Most firms don’t have anywhere close to enough people right now and remote work is clearly becoming a market point in hiring based on the recruiter emails that keep flowing in...

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:27 pm

Try to separate what’s good for business about wfh (empirically higher productivity, greater associate morale, well-rested healthier workers); vs the reasons partners want to remain in the office (it’s their only social life, baseless stigma about remote work, etc...)

Seems like there is only one smart business decision to make.

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blair.waldorf

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by blair.waldorf » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:32 pm

bob311 wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:00 pm
Bump. Just spoke to one partner who told me that we would be lucky if we get 1 day of wfh post covid.

Need more policies/news to help counter this line of thinking!
I would lateral so fast if I'm forced back in five days a week. That will not help the retention issues firms seem to be having.

After working from home for over a year, the cat is out of the bag and I think firms that try to force people into the office five days a week will see people leave in droves.
Last edited by blair.waldorf on Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bob311

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by bob311 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:27 pm
Try to separate what’s good for business about wfh (empirically higher productivity, greater associate morale, well-rested healthier workers); vs the reasons partners want to remain in the office (it’s their only social life, baseless stigma about remote work, etc...)

Seems like there is only one smart business decision to make.
Agreed wholeheartedly, but the management really only cares what the market is doing, unfortunately. Planning on citing Goodwin and linklaters at this point, but just wish there was more out there.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:35 pm

bob311 wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:27 pm
Try to separate what’s good for business about wfh (empirically higher productivity, greater associate morale, well-rested healthier workers); vs the reasons partners want to remain in the office (it’s their only social life, baseless stigma about remote work, etc...)

Seems like there is only one smart business decision to make.
Agreed wholeheartedly, but the management really only cares what the market is doing, unfortunately. Planning on citing Goodwin and linklaters at this point, but just wish there was more out there.
Kirkland is now hiring remote associates, and I've heard at least one Hogan office is switching to 3 days WFH/2 days in the office.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:43 pm

Cooley just posted like 10 jobs remote.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:43 pm
Cooley just posted like 10 jobs remote.
I'm hearing all the bay area firms will be offering this

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:24 pm
What type of firm and market? That seems really restrictive - maybe litigation heavy in smaller market? I’ve been hearing 2-3 days a week WFH and no going back till at least fall and likely next year mandatory.

Most firms don’t have anywhere close to enough people right now and remote work is clearly becoming a market point in hiring based on the recruiter emails that keep flowing in...
In Texas, the second half of our summer program is in person, and I assume we will be asked to go back in the office at that time. Our managing partner has been seriously pushing for attorneys to get their butts back in their seats. It's extremely irritating, as the pandemic is not over yet.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:43 pm
Cooley just posted like 10 jobs remote.
My large v30 said that we were going back to office in September but then also said that there were committees etc formulating the execution of that.

So it’s kind of confusing because on the one hand it seems mandatory or at least presumptive (like you’ll be there unless there’s a reason you need to work from home), but the fact that there are discussions with management and associate committees and all that Re what it will actually look like gives me hope for a hybrid.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by bob311 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:24 pm
What type of firm and market? That seems really restrictive - maybe litigation heavy in smaller market? I’ve been hearing 2-3 days a week WFH and no going back till at least fall and likely next year mandatory.

Most firms don’t have anywhere close to enough people right now and remote work is clearly becoming a market point in hiring based on the recruiter emails that keep flowing in...
Litigation boutique that is crazy busy. Non NYC major market (one of DC/San Fran).

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:30 pm

Heard Goodwin is going to open in September if that’s what the above poster is referencing. Many friend at Goodwin have told me there was no FaceTime requirement pre covid. Also hiring fully remote associates. I’m sure it will have a very flexible hybrid option and also sure September won’t be mandatory

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by lolwutpar » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:42 pm

With how greedy firms/partners are, I'm kind of surprised so many are pushing for a return to the office. A more flexible system and "hotel" style offices like big accounting would save them so much $$$ in office rent I thought these cheap fucks would be all over it.

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Re: Formal WFH policies

Post by basketofbread » Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:10 pm

lolwutpar wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:42 pm
With how greedy firms/partners are, I'm kind of surprised so many are pushing for a return to the office. A more flexible system and "hotel" style offices like big accounting would save them so much $$$ in office rent I thought these cheap fucks would be all over it.
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