Home Criminal Defense Law Firms Should Be Shamed For Reopening Offices Too Soon

Law Firms Should Be Shamed For Reopening Offices Too Soon

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Earlier within the pandemic, I predicted that some law firms would reopen their offices shortly after they had been legally allowed to take action, despite the fact that this defied social distancing tips. Indeed, I opined that the identical corporations that refuse to shut their places of work for inclement climate, or had a popularity for not caring for his or her staff, can be the outlets that might reopen their places of work too quickly in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many regulation corporations throughout the nation haven’t required attorneys and workers to return to places of work due to COVID-19, I do know of multiple regulation corporations in my space that reopened their places of work too quickly. i’ve additionally acquired quite a few emails over the previous multiple months from attorneys and workers who have to make robust decisions as a result of their bosses are forcing them to return to the workplace. Since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, regulation corporations shouldn’t be requiring staff to come back to the workplace under most circumstances, and the authorized career ought to do extra to disgrace regulation corporations into allowing digital work for the rest of the pandemic.

Supporters of reopening regulation agency places of work typically assert just a few extraordinarily flawed arguments for why attorneys and workers needs to be compelled into returning to places of work. Many managers lament that productiveness has plummeted as a result of staff are working from residence and this hurts the underside strains of many regulation corporations. However, if productiveness was such a difficulty, why have many regulation corporations, each expansive and small, throughout the nation promoted digital work packages and nonetheless had the sources to reverse ongoing wage cuts, furloughs, and different austerity measures (and in lots of cases, awarded bonuses)? There isn’t any cheap reason why taking Zoom depositions, conducting computerized authorized analysis, drafting paperwork, and finishing most different authorized duties can’t be carried out at residence and requires a go to to the workplace for the sake of productiveness. If a regulation agency is discovering itself unproductive due to digital work, maybe that is due to the dearth of imaginative and prescient of managers, and regulation agency bosses ought to work on boosting the output of digital work relatively than risking the well being of their staff by reopening places of work.

Moreover, even when productiveness is a purpose for reopening places of work, retaining your staff wholesome (which is simpler if they’re at residence) and minimizing the variety of staff who need to take care of COVID-19 will increase productiveness. As somebody who recovered from COVID-19 earlier this yr, I can convey that the virus made it troublesome for me to finish work for over per week, and that I solely had a average case of COVID-19. Of course, people with extra severe instances of COVID-19 could be off their ft for weeks or months, and that is assuming they’re able to recuperate from the virus in any respect. Moreover, allowing digital work will make it far simpler for workers to juggle all the education, childcare, and different private wants all of us have to cope with lately, which ought to enhance the psychological well being of a agency’s workforce and increase productiveness. As a end result, regulation agency managers involved with productiveness needs to be enabling staff to work remotely.

Another argument supporters of forcing attorneys and workers again to places of work typically convey is that assembly in an workplace helps with collaboration amongst coworkers. This is an especially antiquated notion, the kind of outdated reasoning that somebody the likes of Don Draper may convey (I’m assuming, I’ve by no means really seen an episode of Mad Men). Attorneys in the present day collaborate utilizing plenty of digital mediums, together with Zoom, group texts, GChat, social media, and different platforms. Indeed, attorneys throughout the nation have even been attending digital comfortable hours and different packages as a way to remotely promote the social atmosphere of a regulation agency. Even if there was some elusive profit to in-person collaboration, it isn’t price risking the well being and security of staff.

Many regulation corporations are taking security measures to supposedly make returning to places of work safer, however there isn’t any doubt that requiring workplace work comes with a higher danger of being uncovered to COVID-19 than staying at residence. i’ve heard of regulation corporations solely requiring half of their staff within the workplace without delay, which nonetheless presumably exposes their attorneys to extra folks than in the event that they labored from residence, to not point out the people they have to work together with on public transportation, the lobbies of buildings, and different locations. Moreover, sporting masks and sterilizing surfaces shouldn’t be 100% efficient, and we have now all heard tales of individuals being cautious and nonetheless being uncovered to the virus. Although regulation corporations can interact in security theater with measures geared toward curbing the unfold of COVID-19, the simplest technique to hold staff protected is to allow them to do business from home.

The authorized career ought to take a much bigger position in shaming regulation corporations into permitting digital work because the pandemic continues to rage. This website has published stories and opinion pieces about regulation corporations that prematurely reopened their places of work, and this can be a good begin. However, bar associations and different commerce organizations must also take the place that digital work needs to be promoted in all however essentially the most essential roles that have to be carried out in an workplace. As this web site has demonstrated for years, regulation corporations react to public relations stress similar to different organizations as a result of purchasers, potential staff, and different stakeholders might not want to affiliate themselves with regulation corporations that mistreat their staff. We can all play a component in making certain that fellow authorized professionals stay protected in the course of the ongoing pandemic.

In the top, despite the fact that regulation agency managers could also be upset that they should pay lease for an workplace that’s hardly ever used within the present atmosphere, that is no purpose to power attorneys and workers again to places of work. Many corporations have been efficiently utilizing digital work strategies for months and have been capable of reduce any impression to their backside line. Law corporations ought to proceed to permit work-from-home insurance policies for the rest of the pandemic, and we are able to all play a component in pressuring regulation corporations to advertise the well being and security of their staff.


Jordan Rothman is a accomplice of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey regulation agency. He can also be the founding father of Student Debt Diaries, a web site discussing how he paid off his scholar loans. You can reach Jordan via e-mail at jordan@rothmanlawyer.com.

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