Thanks to the pandemic, Biglaw firms were forced into a whole new world of remote and hybrid workplaces. For more than two years, many firms specifically instructed and encouraged associates and staff to work remotely. But now that worries over COVID-19 seem to be subsiding even amid an uptick in reported cases, remote work as an attorney or legal professional may be coming to an end — and for associates and staff, that’s a very daunting concept.
Law.com has some expert analysis on the issue:
The conversation is most strained at the staff level, according to several industry sources, who note that the balance of power plays a large role in firms’ attitudes and policies.
“Associates to a degree can still go where they want. If they were forced to appear at the office in the flesh, they’d probably vote with their feet,” says Kate Reder Sheikh, a Northern California-based associate recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa.
By comparison, “the power dynamics are much harder for staff,” she says. And after all, many lawyers rely on staff to respond to impromptu challenges at a moment’s notice.
Reder Sheikh went on to tell Law.com that while “[associates] hired remote will remain remote,” attorneys who are looking to be hired for remote work jobs “will find fewer and fewer opportunities.”
That said, if you were lucky enough to have found a remote position within the last year or so, then count yourself as one of the lucky, because these jobs seem to be going out of style. If you’re still on the hunt for remote work as an attorney or staffer, may the odds be ever in your favor.
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.