Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier? Forum

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Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:11 am

Mayer Brown is opening an office in Salt Lake City, following Kirkland, Foley and Wilson Sonsini.

Is this the next big law frontier? Will more firms open offices there?

How the hell will the mid law and regional firms survive? The market doesn’t have the body count that LA, NY or CHI has so curious to see what others think. Especially if you’re in that market.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:35 am

I don't think midlaw/regional firms are really competing with biglaw firms and will just keep doing what they're doing.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am

Agree they’re not trying to compete but looking at the 8 or so local and mid firms and they have like zero corporate associates.

I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 22, 2022 1:41 am

I'm assuming they already have some critical mass of people who want to live in SLC (which is supposed to be a cool city and is still cheaper than major east coast/west coast metros), and they'd likely get 1) Utahns who went T14 and want biglaw but would like to go back home, and 2) the pick of the top students at Utah and BYU. They're probably not currently corporate associates b/c the jobs don't exist, but would take those jobs if they did exist.

Or maybe they'll all crash and burn and close up shop, who knows.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am
Agree they’re not trying to compete but looking at the 8 or so local and mid firms and they have like zero corporate associates.

I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.
As a senior associate who recently left the corporate practice of one of those larger regional firms, I can tell you that that there is absolutely not enough local talent to sustain the dozen or so firms that are trying to build up or maintain significant corporate practices here (K&E, Foley, MB, WSGR plus regionals like Holland & Hart, Snell & Wilmer, Stoel Rives, etc.). The regionals used to rely on a pretty steady stream of Utah natives that went T14, spent some time on the coasts in big law and then wanted to move back to Utah after a few years, but no 4th year is going to settle for a $190k base and a $20k bonus at H&H when they could make market elsewhere.

Kirkland took a scorched earth approach and snatched up anyone in SLC with any substantive transactional experience, which in this market means mostly seed stage VC and $10-$100M M&A. Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace. I imagine some of those will eventually return to the local firms, but the smaller firms are definitely panicking right now.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am
I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.
Kirkland recruited a large number of NY/DC/CA/TX/Chi/etc. biglaw laterals to its SLC office. Nearly all of them had personal reasons for moving (back) to Utah - BYU attendance and/or Mormon faith. I assume Mayer Brown will be pursuing a similar path, although Kirkland certainly beat them to the low hanging fruit.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.
That cracks me up. Not wanting to be responsive on evenings and weekends is one of the major reasons you go work in SLC rather than NYC or Chicago. Not sure that refusing to handle the pace means being unable to handle it.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:27 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am
I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.
Kirkland recruited a large number of NY/DC/CA/TX/Chi/etc. biglaw laterals to its SLC office. Nearly all of them had personal reasons for moving (back) to Utah - BYU attendance and/or Mormon faith. I assume Mayer Brown will be pursuing a similar path, although Kirkland certainly beat them to the low hanging fruit.
This is backed up by what I know. Friend of mine left a coastal Biglaw firm to go back to his home state of Utah to work at Kirkland while making the same amount of money or more, so I'm not sure how much the Biglaw firms opening up shops in SLC are snapping up local talent.

In the days without remote work especially, something like this seems like a really small play: Pay the same salary in a city with cheaper real estate and lower COL, and smart, hard-working lawyers who want to move (back) there, and you'll attract some good talent without much capital costs.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.
That cracks me up. Not wanting to be responsive on evenings and weekends is one of the major reasons you go work in SLC rather than NYC or Chicago. Not sure that refusing to handle the pace means being unable to handle it.
Nothing wrong with wanting the middle market midlaw life, but it comes with middle market midlaw comp. You can't get Kirkland money with that lifestyle, and I think a lot of those folks (who didn't 100% understand what they were signing up for) will exit biglaw one way or another soon.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.
That cracks me up. Not wanting to be responsive on evenings and weekends is one of the major reasons you go work in SLC rather than NYC or Chicago. Not sure that refusing to handle the pace means being unable to handle it.
Nothing wrong with wanting the middle market midlaw life, but it comes with middle market midlaw comp. You can't get Kirkland money with that lifestyle, and I think a lot of those folks (who didn't 100% understand what they were signing up for) will exit biglaw one way or another soon.
Or they completely understood and are just taking a high-paid detour for a while.

Like I completely get why Kirkland et al wouldn’t keep such people around forever but there’s a lot of discussion on this site about how to survive in biglaw is to create boundaries, and now that people have, suddenly it’s not such a good thing after all.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 4:21 pm

I'm big on the mountain west offices actually. A lot of tech is moving out of the valley to Denver and SLC for cheaper operations and talent.

As for attracting law firm talent, if you ask me Austin vs. Denver, I definitely pick Denver. SLC has some issues that make it hard to attract non-Mormons/Utahans (I wouldn't want to deal with their draconian policies on drinking and nightlife), but the nature is amazing being only 30 minute drive to a lot of amazing mountains.

I think it's very possible that 20 years from now, the Denver/SLC legal market will be on par with Boston and bigger than Miami/Philly/Charlotte/Austin/etc.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Joachim2017 » Sat Jan 22, 2022 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:51 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.
That cracks me up. Not wanting to be responsive on evenings and weekends is one of the major reasons you go work in SLC rather than NYC or Chicago. Not sure that refusing to handle the pace means being unable to handle it.
Nothing wrong with wanting the middle market midlaw life, but it comes with middle market midlaw comp. You can't get Kirkland money with that lifestyle, and I think a lot of those folks (who didn't 100% understand what they were signing up for) will exit biglaw one way or another soon.
Or they completely understood and are just taking a high-paid detour for a while.

Like I completely get why Kirkland et al wouldn’t keep such people around forever but there’s a lot of discussion on this site about how to survive in biglaw is to create boundaries, and now that people have, suddenly it’s not such a good thing after all.



I wish people would stop abusing the anon feature if only to reference posts easily, but yeah it makes little sense to say people who choose not to be super-responsive while working in places like SLC are "unable to handle the pace." And it's a defeatist attitude to just throw up your hands and say that "the middle market midlaw life ... comes with middle market midlaw comp." That's not necessarily true. This is a market. Flexibility is built in. It depends on supply, demand, and willingness to work. If firms need the labor, they may have to lower their expectations without lowering their pay. That's an open possibility, and it's not smart to just cave in to implicit expectations otherwise and do the firms a favor by not forcing them to change in a way that benefits labor. The multi-millionaire partners at K&E will be just fine.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 5:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am
Agree they’re not trying to compete but looking at the 8 or so local and mid firms and they have like zero corporate associates.

I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.
As a senior associate who recently left the corporate practice of one of those larger regional firms, I can tell you that that there is absolutely not enough local talent to sustain the dozen or so firms that are trying to build up or maintain significant corporate practices here (K&E, Foley, MB, WSGR plus regionals like Holland & Hart, Snell & Wilmer, Stoel Rives, etc.). The regionals used to rely on a pretty steady stream of Utah natives that went T14, spent some time on the coasts in big law and then wanted to move back to Utah after a few years, but no 4th year is going to settle for a $190k base and a $20k bonus at H&H when they could make market elsewhere.

Kirkland took a scorched earth approach and snatched up anyone in SLC with any substantive transactional experience, which in this market means mostly seed stage VC and $10-$100M M&A. Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace. I imagine some of those will eventually return to the local firms, but the smaller firms are definitely panicking right now.
Can confirm the bolded.

The biglaw to SLC thing is extremely interesting. But have a feeling it is going to blow up like a super nova once transactions go back to a normal pace.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:52 am
Agree they’re not trying to compete but looking at the 8 or so local and mid firms and they have like zero corporate associates.

I just don’t get how they’ll survive and also how these firms will recruit mid and senior associates. It’s a tiny ass market lol.
As a senior associate who recently left the corporate practice of one of those larger regional firms, I can tell you that that there is absolutely not enough local talent to sustain the dozen or so firms that are trying to build up or maintain significant corporate practices here (K&E, Foley, MB, WSGR plus regionals like Holland & Hart, Snell & Wilmer, Stoel Rives, etc.). The regionals used to rely on a pretty steady stream of Utah natives that went T14, spent some time on the coasts in big law and then wanted to move back to Utah after a few years, but no 4th year is going to settle for a $190k base and a $20k bonus at H&H when they could make market elsewhere.

Kirkland took a scorched earth approach and snatched up anyone in SLC with any substantive transactional experience, which in this market means mostly seed stage VC and $10-$100M M&A. Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace. I imagine some of those will eventually return to the local firms, but the smaller firms are definitely panicking right now.

Man I’ve heard that $190k for 4th years isn’t even a thing at H&H and more like $175k-$180k. Supposedly Dorsey is highest paying non-big law firm but that place is a damn sweat shop according to former and current associate friends there. I mean like 2100+ is a normal prepandemic year there.

As for experience, I think there is going to be a HUGE learning curve for most SLC local associates. I would guess that only 5% of them have ever seen an insured M&A deal and most do “local corporate” work like buying and selling dental offices.

Oddly I have heard the opposite on pace, which is from two current friends at K&E and that is that they are working the same OR LESS than their regional local firm time. That could be because their experience level isn’t on par with a typical Kirkland 4th year and thereby they’re not getting staffed enough. But either way, they both collected $150,000+ in signing bonuses and doubled their base salaries.

I don’t know who is left to be hired by Wilson and Mayer Brown. Rumor has it DLA and Goodwin are going to the market as well. But if you look at Wilson, who should have had an easier time recruiting given their venture capital practice and reputation of tech firms, but they haven’t been able to hire. Single associate in the market. They got one out of law school and one relocated associate from PA, that’s it.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:43 pm
But if you look at Wilson, who should have had an easier time recruiting given their venture capital practice and reputation of tech firms, but they haven’t been able to hire. Single associate in the market. They got one out of law school and one relocated associate from PA, that’s it.
There are only 4 people in the office at all, 2 of whom (1 partner, 1 associate) seem also to be splitting with other offices. How many associates should they be hiring and why does it matter where they hire those associates from? (Honest question, no idea what an office like that should look like.)

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:07 pm

I honestly don’t know why these firms would open an office in SLC and not in Seattle lol. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks. Would definitely appreciate Kirkland coming in with a satellite office and forcing the local firms to pay market.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:08 pm
Most of those associates doubled their total comp by making the move, so who can blame them, but I have heard that some are already having trouble handling K&E's pace.
I have heard the same from the Kirkland side. People running deals in NYC or Chicago with SLC midlaw laterals on their team have complained that they are simply not on the same page about expectations, mostly about how responsive they are on evenings and weekends.
That cracks me up. Not wanting to be responsive on evenings and weekends is one of the major reasons you go work in SLC rather than NYC or Chicago. Not sure that refusing to handle the pace means being unable to handle it.
yeah I don't know what they expected from hiring a bunch of Mormons with families

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:22 pm

I'm curious if this phenomenon will expand into other markets. I bet Kirkland Charlottesville would attract a lot of UVA grads and people from the DC area. The smaller Midwestern markets--Minneapolis, Columbus, Cincy, Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Omaha, KC, STL--have few real biglaw firms and a decent number of biglaw-level-resume attorneys. Pittsburgh, Nashville, Birmingham, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle have similar situations. Firms could also expand their Denver operations. If you decide you don't need local rates to support your work, you can theoretically open small offices wherever there's a critical mass of people that you'd hire who want to work for you.

Kirkland and Mayer Brown will have huge first mover advantages in SLC assuming the market is running out of talent, which will be a barrier to other firms entering.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:07 pm
I honestly don’t know why these firms would open an office in SLC and not in Seattle lol. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks. Would definitely appreciate Kirkland coming in with a satellite office and forcing the local firms to pay market.
SLC is still waaaay cheaper than Seattle though.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:40 pm

nixy wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:07 pm
I honestly don’t know why these firms would open an office in SLC and not in Seattle lol. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks. Would definitely appreciate Kirkland coming in with a satellite office and forcing the local firms to pay market.
SLC is still waaaay cheaper than Seattle though.

You're right. But that's kinda exactly why I'm miffed about the sleepy market here...Idk how Seattle has managed to remain so insular and not be held to the NYC/SF/LA/DC scale when it's so freaking expensive to live here.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:16 pm

Competition? More people want to live there than there are big law positions? Totally see that it sucks, though!

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by ignorantfoot96 » Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:07 pm
I honestly don’t know why these firms would open an office in SLC and not in Seattle lol. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks. Would definitely appreciate Kirkland coming in with a satellite office and forcing the local firms to pay market.
I also don't understand why the Seattle market hasn't had more big law firms try to crack the market. There really aren't that many large firms that have much of a presence (Perkins, DWT, K&L, and very small satellite offices of a few others like Cooley, Cozen, Dorsey, etc.)

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 3:34 pm

ignorantfoot96 wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:07 pm
I honestly don’t know why these firms would open an office in SLC and not in Seattle lol. Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks. Would definitely appreciate Kirkland coming in with a satellite office and forcing the local firms to pay market.
I also don't understand why the Seattle market hasn't had more big law firms try to crack the market. There really aren't that many large firms that have much of a presence (Perkins, DWT, K&L, and very small satellite offices of a few others like Cooley, Cozen, Dorsey, etc.)

Yeah, I would take a NYC V10/V20 satellite in Seattle in a heartbeat. So many people want to live there, I'm sure they would have a sufficient supply of associate talent. Kirkland, please go and open an office lol.

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Re: Mayer Brown opening in SLC, Utah. Next big law frontier?

Post by 2013 » Sun Jan 23, 2022 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 8:22 pm
I'm curious if this phenomenon will expand into other markets. I bet Kirkland Charlottesville would attract a lot of UVA grads and people from the DC area. The smaller Midwestern markets--Minneapolis, Columbus, Cincy, Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Omaha, KC, STL--have few real biglaw firms and a decent number of biglaw-level-resume attorneys. Pittsburgh, Nashville, Birmingham, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle have similar situations. Firms could also expand their Denver operations. If you decide you don't need local rates to support your work, you can theoretically open small offices wherever there's a critical mass of people that you'd hire who want to work for you.

Kirkland and Mayer Brown will have huge first mover advantages in SLC assuming the market is running out of talent, which will be a barrier to other firms entering.
If/when the market slows down, firms will be glad they didn’t expand into other markets where their rates are unsustainable. Firms may “ask” some of their associates to relocate to SLC to staff that office once the power balance shifts again to the partners and remote work forever isn’t a thing at most firms.

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