It’s been about six months since law firms closed their office doors in favor of using work-from-home policies as a way to prevent employees from becoming infected with COVID-19, the deadly virus that’s plagued the globe for nearly all of 2020. Almost 6 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 180,000 people have died. Although cases continue to surge, many firms are pushing to reopen and get back to work in person.
Other firms are going another route entirely.
Back in March, Reed Smith — which raked in $1,246,926,000 in 2019 gross revenue, making it 26th on the Am Law 100 ranking — made waves as the first firm to institute a mandatory work-from-home policy. The firm previously made four rounds of salary reductions for partners, associates, and staff, and fresh off reports that those cuts would be reduced for almost all employees, Reed Smith is making news again.
We’ve learned that Reed Smith will extend its work-from-home policy for all U.S. employees for at least the rest of the year and into the first month of 2021. Here’s a statement from the firm on its decision to remain remote for the next several months:
As the first law firm to move to remote working across our global platform, we are proud of the early action we took in March to protect the health and wellbeing of our personnel and our communities. We have now made a decision to extend our remote-work period for US personnel until at least January 2021. We hope this certainty will help our people as they make plans for the rest of the year.
In some US offices, under strict guidelines, lawyers can request to work from an office. In EMEA, some of our offices have partially returned to work, when safe and appropriate. More than 90% of Reed Smith lawyers and professional staff continue to log in remotely each work week. We are serving our clients well without skipping a beat and will continue to do that remotely into 2021 in light of the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic.
Reed Smith is the first firm we know of to announce that it will remain remote for the rest of 2020. Some may be sick of working from home, but for others, this decision offers a little security during these uncertain times in that employees won’t have to worry about potentially getting infected with COVID-19 while at work.
Will your law firm follow in Reed Smith’s footsteps? Please get in touch with us via email or text — [email protected] or (646) 820-8477) — and let us know. This could be a brand new Biglaw trend in the making.
Earlier: Biglaw Firm Institutes Mandatory Work-From-Home Policy To Protect Personnel From Coronavirus
Staci 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.