More lawyers are shifting law firms to avoid having to return to the office – But why?
It appears that lawyers are going to extremes – in the United States legal scene at least – to avoid going back to their offices, including shifting firms to avoid that very prospect.
Remote work for lawyers – many of them at least – appears to be a permanent lifestyle fixture.
Law.com report that the hesitancy comes from lockdowns and mandated work-from-home orders at the height of the pandemic but the ‘work at home’ practice has become a way of life that many wish to make permanent.
Mid-career and senior associates, in particular, felt that they were in their element on Zoom calls with colleagues and clients—able to contribute more effectively to their practices and enjoying greater visibility both in the firm, and with clients.
We have previously reported on strategies being adopted by many lawyers to successfully work remotely.
Speaking with recruiters, it seems that it isn’t just some associates who feel that way. Senior attorneys too—partners who can take their book of business with them—aren’t happy about the idea of returning to office life. And while this sentiment may prove problematic for firms wishing a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, other firms are positioning themselves to take advantage of a seemingly growing band of homebound rebels.
Dan Scott, a national recruiter based in Rochester, Michigan, places partners and associates in law firms, working with “highly successful individuals looking for a change of environment.”
Lately, he says lately he’s had “numerous” lawyers asking him to find them remote roles, some of whom will look seriously at leaving their current law firm roles if they cannot work remotely.
“In this climate, changing jobs now can mean a courier comes and picks up your old laptop and another arrives to deliver your new one,” says Scott.
John Eads, former Wilson Elser regional managing partner in Detroit who recently moved to Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, would agree that the ability to work remotely is now a big draw for some attorneys.
Last week, 12 Wilson Elser attorneys in Detriot followed him across to his new firm. He says part of the reason for their move is that younger attorneys and staff will have “more opportunities for upward mobility” at Gordon Rees, because the firm “supports attorneys working remotely by issuing laptops to all personnel.”
The changes in technology and the use of ‘human capital’ have been a matter of previous discussion, including from Big Law firms.
Remote work for lawyers has been unquestionably assisted with technological changes mainly revolving around computing power, bandwidth speeds, connected devices, network architecture and the software that together enables remote life, work and commerce, which will doubtless alter the way lawyers work going foreword. Even if it means some lawyers leave their current law firms to retain that benefit.