Many biglaw firms have stuck with both their plans for a COVID-19 vaccination and eventual return to the office, but now one of the most successful firms in the country has announced a date to reopen, and it is possible that others will Companies do so, following in their footsteps.
Late last week, Ropes & Gray – a company that had gross sales of $ 1,903,616,000 in 2019, ranked 13th in the most recent Am Law 100 ranking – released a memo to lawyers and staff advising them of this that the permitted office use continues until Labor Day. Then “look[ing] Ahead with great optimism as COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available. “It is likely that everyone will be back in the office as usual.
Here is an excerpt from the memo from Chairwoman Julie Jones (fully available on the next page):
We hope that by sharing a safer long-term plan you can now manage some of the logistical stress you and your families may experience as the seasons change and lead to new life, childcare and family responsibilities.
Even before September 6th, when more members of the Ropes community are vaccinated and safety conditions improve, we hope you find safe and creative ways to be together in person. For example, we anticipate that many more of you will volunteer to return to our offices in good time before September 6th. We think you will find that being in the office is a welcome change. It has been a stimulating experience for many of us.
Ropes respects the unique living conditions of its employees and will “give at least 45 days notice before moving from permitted use to a wider office return”. Here is what a company source had to say about the new return plans:
I appreciate that the company is flexible and understanding when people return, especially when summer comes. It shows that they understand the situation and that it will take time for everyone to get used to going back to work.
Jones didn’t mention Ropes & Gray’s plans for employee vaccination, if any.
Are you ready to go back to work this fall? We sincerely hope so, because now that a company like Ropes & Gray has announced its intentions, it looks like other companies will be expecting this from their lawyers in just a few months. As with all things COVID-19 related, these plans are likely to change. However, prepare yourself again for everyday office life – just in case.
(Scroll to the next page to see the full Ropes & Gray memo.)
Staci Zaretsky is Senior Editor at Above the Law, where she has been working since 2011. She would love to hear from you. Please send her an email with tips, questions, comments or criticism. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.