Minters has had an interesting year in Australia with the scandal involving former CEO Annette Kimmitt, but it has ended the year with a more pleasant and reflective musing from the firm’s leader Virginia Briggs who has expressed her feeling on missing the “fun” of the office and seeking the return of “the superstars in the middle” to join her there.
The Financial Times reported that younger lawyers and partners were the keenest to return to the office after lockdown woes and she expressed her desire to communicate the advantages of working from the office.
“Why you need to return to the office is about collaboration and connection. I don’t think there is any substitute for the connection. With teams, for law firms in particular, it’s so much about development and learning.
“People have done a terrific job remotely during COVID, but there’s no substitute for that face-to-face learning, that incidental learning from overhearing conversations, being grabbed into a client meeting, so you can see how more senior practitioners perform,” she told the AFR.
The ability to work face-to-face was an easier way to create the ‘fun’ and inspiration than working remotely.
“I think we’ve lost a lot of the fun that we used to have at work when we were working remotely.”
She outlined the joys of sharing gingerbread during a recent day in the office – and even being teased for a red “santa” outfit.
“It was that kind of interaction. I walked away from it going ‘oh real people, a bit of a chat and a laugh for a minute’, and then I sat down at my desk.”
Minters would be looking to provide ‘markers’ for staff attending the office after Australia Day, she said, noting that junior staff wanted to return, along with partners but the ‘middle group’ was more problematic – ‘super smart’ they were able to work remotely and often with parental responsibilities.
The object was to get them back into town.