As America steps up its offense in the war against the coronavirus pandemic, Biglaw firms are now taking the threat of infection more seriously, offering employees a way to stay safe from harm through work-from-home policies. First came Quinn Emanuel, which shuttered its New York office after one of the firm’s partners tested positive for coronavirus, implementing a work-from-home period for all personnel. A day later, Faegre Drinker closed its offices worldwide, offering remote work access, if only for a short time, due to a coronavirus scare. Next, Weil Gotshal informed all of its employees that the firm had enacted mandatory work-from-home sessions on alternating weeks.
Now, we’ve received word about a firm that’s gone all in when it comes to protecting its lawyers and staff. Which firm truly cares about employee health and safety?
Reed Smith has instituted a mandatory work-from-home plan for all personnel in its U.S. and Europe & Middle East offices. Here’s an excerpt from the memo:
The Senior Management Team is directing that lawyers and professional staff across all of our US and EME offices work remotely starting Friday, March 13, 2020, and until further updates. Personnel are not to be in the office absent compelling and essential business need. If you believe such a need exists, please contact your Office Managing Partner, or his or her designee, to seek approval and to schedule and plan for that need. We will have in each location a team of essential employees available to assist with key business needs.
Obviously, containment is a critical component in stopping the spread of the virus, and this preventative step is intended for that purposes. This is a rapidly changing environment, and we anticipate that we will be operating under this remote-work policy for at least the next several weeks – and perhaps longer.
Kudos to Reed Smith for taking real steps to protect each and every one of its employees during these uncertain times. If only more firms were willing to offer absolute work-from-home accommodations, lawyers and staff wouldn’t have to worry about potentially getting infected with COVID-19.
(Flip to the next page to see Reed Smith’s coronavirus WFH policy.)
What is your firm doing to protect lawyers and staff from coronavirus? Please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “Coronavirus Response”). Stay safe.
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.