Thanks To Biglaw’s Hot Lateral Market, The End Of The 5-Day, In-Office Work Week Is Here

The end of the five-day, in-office work has finally arrived. Who would’ve thought that we’d have COVID to thank for it.

The pandemic has proven that a physical brick-and-mortar office is no longer an essential when it comes to the practice of law. Associates know it, and partners know it too, but they’ve got real estate leases to pay, so the office beckons as an absolute must for important things like mentorship and professional development. Another thing associates now know — especially highly in-demand midlevel associates — is that if they don’t like their firm’s in-office working policies, they can leave and head to a firm that has the remote or hybrid flexibilities they’re looking for in a snap.

The Daily Business Review provides a bird’s-eye on this new phenomenon:

According to South Florida legal recruiters like Joe Ankus of Ankus Consulting, law firms that can’t provide a compelling reason to ask everyone to show up five days per week are at a disadvantage—so, most aren’t.

“I would say at least half of the candidates I speak to either asked me whether remote work is an option when things return to normal, and the other half have said to me that they would prefer to be in the office three to four days per week,” Ankus said. “The remote option remains highly in favor among lawyers with three to seven years of experience.”

“I hear it every day from attorneys. Out of 10 [conversations], remote flexibility comes up at least six or seven times,” said Miami-based legal recruiter Chris Holtzhauer of Holtz Bernard, during a chat with DBR. “Some firms that are still hesitant to give that flexibility, who want people to be in-office because they’re fearful of how remote work affects their culture, those firms are having a tough time being competitive.”

If firms don’t want to have a “tough time being competitive,” they better be sure to put more remote work options on the table. After all, aside from more money, it’s what the midlevels they need really want most for their careers.

Competition for Legal Talent Drives Nail into Coffin of Five-Day, In-Office Work Week [Daily Business Review]

Staci ZaretskyStaci ZaretskyStaci 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.