Late last week, Davis Polk unveiled a new return-to-work policy. While the rest of the Biglaw world waits to see which reopening strategy becomes the new normal, DPW has taken a unique approach that allows employees to work from home while also requiring full office attendance on certain days to facilitate in-office mentorship and business development opportunities.
Unfortunately, rejecting the freedom that many attorneys have grown to consider as the principal benefit of remote working in recent years is also required.
Here’s what the note stated:
Beginning Monday, May 2, and for the indefinite future, we will follow the policy outlined below.
Lawyers are expected to work in-office three to four days a week. Attendance is mandatory on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for all practices and seniority levels.
In-office attendance throughout the month of August will depend in part on the configuration of our law school recruiting needs during that time period, which is under consideration and will be communicated in due course. We will not have floating remote weeks this summer in light of the importance of in-office attendance to our summer program. Our floating remote week policy for the fall and winter will be announced in due course.
When attorneys vow they’ll never go back to work, events like the summer programme should make them think again. This is where the company looks to attorneys to make ties with the next generation and, perhaps, persuade them to return and help out. That will never happen if attorneys become completely remote. However, it does not resolve the issue of whether or not requiring three particular days of attendance is the best solution.
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