Firm Biglaw which ended the 5-day work week in the office announces 3 mandatory working days in the office

In May 2021, Ropes & Gray announced its vision for a return to work for lawyers, in three phases, ending Biglaw’s preference for partners to spend most of their time in the office. At the time, it was perhaps one of the most flexible post-pandemic reopening plans of all, and it came from one of the most successful companies in the country.

Since then, the firm has implemented two more phases of its reopening plan, encouraging partners to spend one to two days in the office each week (which began in February), then three days in the office each week (which began in March ). Now Ropes is moving forward with its back-to-the-office plan by requiring associates to be in the office three days a week.

Why this? According to Julie Jones, chair of the firm, it is because “[t]Those who don’t spend at least three days a week in the office don’t get the full experience of being a Ropes & Gray lawyer – whether it’s being mentored by a colleague, connecting and collaborate with teams or get involved in our wider community. Here are some additional details from his note:

We’ve thought about the benefits of having lawyers in the office at least three days a week, and find that a more coordinated schedule, with maximum overlap between colleagues, is key to creating experiences that build connections and offer our teaching. . and promise of mentorship. With that in mind, starting October 3, we are introducing mandatory “anchor days” in the office and designating Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as the days we will be in the office – together. Of course, many of us will stay in the office beyond these days due to client or team needs or personal preferences. …

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be our key days because they are the busiest days over the last six months. We expect to see you on these days, absent the occasional customer and business development needs or personal conflicts that arise in every professional’s life. As always, we ask that professionalism and good judgment guide our decision-making. As a global company operating out of 13 offices, we also realize that specific market conditions can cause variations from time to time.

That makes Ropes & Gray the latest firm to mandate at least three days in the office, and associates we’ve heard from don’t seem too keen on it. But remember these lines from the memo Jones sent in 2021 when talking about the company’s reopening plans: “Whatever phase we’re in, we approve of post-pandemic flexibility. We don’t expect to impose a five-day-a-week office environment. We’ll say this again: Ropes probably won’t require lawyers to spend five days in the office, and that’s always something to celebrate.

Also remember that Ropes & Gray has two more remote weeks for avocados in the future: Thanksgiving week (November 21-23) and Christmas holiday week (December 27-30).

Good luck to all as they return to a more regular office life within the firm.

(Skip to the next page to read the Ropes & Gray memo in its entirety.)

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Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is an editor at Above the Law, where she has worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so feel free to email her with tips, questions, comments or criticism. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Jose C. Birney