Quinn Emanuel Says Lawyers Can Work From Home Indefinitely (1)

U.S. lawyers at Quinn Emanuel can “work from anywhere” indefinitely, the law firm announced Monday.

The move is primarily designed to attract and retain lawyers in a competitive market, John Quinn, the firm’s founder, said in an interview.

“We need more high quality lawyers. That’s the real impetus for this,” Quinn said. “We shouldn’t be limited to recruiting high quality lawyers who just happen to be in a city where we don’t have an office.”

The announcement comes as large law firms grappling with office returns face a new hurdle posed by the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19. Several large firms in London have advised attorneys and staff to stay home, following a spike of infections in the U.K.

Highly coveted associates have more leverage than perhaps ever before, as firms dole out big bonuses and offer flexible work arrangements to attract talent. Some junior lawyers at big firms touting the arrangements have said, however, that they feel pressure from partners to show up at the office.

“The associates I’m talking to are extremely interested in fully remote roles where there’s not going to be a ‘gotcha’ moment in four months or six months or eight months,” said Kate Reder Sheikh, a managing director at legal recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa.

VIDEO: Leaders from Big Law firms share return to office plans for their firms.

Quinn Emanuel is one of the world’s largest litigation firms, employing more than 875 attorneys globally and reporting $1.3 billion in gross revenue last year. The firm, founded in Los Angeles, is currently representing Tesla Inc., Regus Management Group, and Vimeo Inc., among other clients.

The firm said the remote work policy applies to all of its nearly 700 U.S.-based lawyers, including partners and incoming junior attorneys, subject to tax and bar registration requirements. Quinn said new additions to the firm may be asked to initially work from one of Quinn Emanuel’s 13 offices.

“We may want them to come in and spend some time initially, on a temporary basis, so that they get the benefit of having worked in a Quinn Emanuel office,” he said.

Cooley, Goodwin Procter, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher are among firms that have pushed office return dates to next year amid pandemic concerns. Cooley, Goodwin, and Wilson Sonsini have also hired corporate associates in states where the firms don’t have an office.

Quinn said his firm will look to maintain the firm’s culture and develop lawyers by doing more in-house training, ramping up mentorship programs, and increasing offsite gatherings for groups of attorneys. “We want people to understand that they are part of a larger firm,” he said.

Quinn also said what makes an office is rapidly changing, thanks to the rise of remote work.

“We now have three partners living in Park City, Utah,” he said. “Does that mean we have an office in Park City? I don’t know.”