Skadden mandates four days in office

Policy extending to all lawyers sees Skadden join a number of Big Law rivals in mandating time in the office

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Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s lawyers will be expected to be in the office for a minimum of four days per week, the New York firm has confirmed. 

The new policy, which will come into effect following the Labor Day holiday in the US on 4 September, marks a shift away from the work from home policy the firm introduced during the pandemic that required lawyers to be in the office each week from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Under the new policy, which will apply globally, the firm’s lawyers must be in the office from Monday to Thursday and have the option to work remotely on Fridays. 

A spokesperson for the firm commented: “By affording attorneys the flexibility to work remotely on Fridays and during specified periods throughout the year, our modified hybrid work model will harness the best aspects of remote working while fueling innovation and professional development through more frequent in-person collaboration.”

The move sees Skadden join a number of its US rivals in reducing time spent WFH, particularly for more junior lawyers, with some firms tying office attendance for associates to bonuses and job security. 

Earlier this month Above the Law reported that Simpson Thacher had alerted its associates to an update in its employees handbook that stated they must comply with its three-days-in-the-office requirement or risk losing their discretionary bonus. The handbook cited the importance of in-office attendance for both attorney development and performance.  

Meantime Ropes & Gray, which had one of the most flexible post-pandemic working models, told associates last September that they must spend at least three days per week in the office and – reportedly without prior warning – docked bonuses last year by up to 15% for “insufficient” compliance.

Sidley Austin and Davis Polk have similarly told associates they must be in the office three days each week, with Sidley telling Bloomberg Law that its associates had said they value in-person contact with their peers and the firm’s partners. 

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