Thanks To Omicron Variant, Elite Biglaw Firm Makes Office Work ‘Voluntary’ For Lawyers Through March 2022

As we get closer and closer to the new year, more and more Biglaw and boutique firms seem to be getting antsy about the latest coronavirus variant. Omicron is here, and it’s even more transmissible than the delta variant. Magic Circle firms in the UK have already told their personnel to start working from home, and certain firms in the US have already revised their return-to-office plans for 2022. In fact, the latest one to announce a change of plans due to omicron is one of the top firms in the country.

Goodwin Procter — a firm that brought in $1,486,263,000 gross revenue in 2020, putting it at No. 23 in the most recent Am Law 100 ranking — notified employees that it would be pushing back its official reopening date to March 14, 2022.

Since November, the firm had been encouraging lawyers to work from the office at least two-to-three days each week, with plans for a fuller return in January 2022. According to a memo sent by managing partner Mark Bettencourt, the firm is making a slight change to its plans “[o]ut of an abundance of caution.”

As first reported by the American Lawyer, Bettencourt announced that until mid-March, “working from our U.S. offices will be entirely voluntary for our lawyers and GO! Team members.” Will other firms follow Goodwin’s lead?

What has your firm announced as far as a revised reopening plan is concerned now that the omicron variant has arrived? The more information is out there, the more likely it is that firms will be able to establish a new market standard for a return.

As soon as you find out about reopening plans at your firm, please email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Office Reopening”) or text us at (646) 820-8477. We always keep our sources on stories anonymous. There’s no need to send a memo (if one exists) using your firm email account; your personal email account is fine. If a memo has been circulated, please be sure to include it as proof; we like to post complete memos as a service to our readers. You can take a photo of the memo and attach as a picture if you are worried about metadata in a PDF or Word file. Thanks.

Law firms torn on office returns as COVID-19 questions swirl [Reuters]
Goodwin Pushes Return Date to Mid-March Amid Uncertainty Over Omicron Variant [American Lawyer]

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.