19 June 2020

Are large law firms returning to offices?

Large international law firms are taking steps to return their employees to the offices once the COVID-19 pandemic has stabilized.

In particular, Dentons announced a few weeks ago the return of its lawyers to the London offices, which took place on June 15, while Linklaters and Allen & Overy announced this Thursday their return to the offices. Specifically, Linklaters announced the opening of all its European offices.

In contrast, CMS and Deloitte have announced that they will return to the London offices in July.

In the meantime, New York City will allow workers to return to the offices from Monday 22 June, and it is expected that around 300,000 employees will stop working from home.

According to a guide prepared by the New York State Bar Association, the opening of law firms' offices depends on 7 criteria: 

1. Net hospitalizations for COVID-19 show a 14-day decline or total no more than 15 new hospitalizations daily on average over three days.

2. A 14-day decline in virus-related hospital deaths, or fewer than five a day, averaged over three days.

3. A three-day rate of new hospitalizations below two per 100,000 residents a day.

4. A hospital-bed vacancy rate of at least 30 percent.

5. An ICU bed availability rate of at least 30 percent.

6. A weekly average of 30 virus tests per 1,000 residents a month.

7. At least 30 working contact tracers per 100,000 residents as part of a program funded by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Through this Guide, the Association recommends that law firms implement internal policies and procedures aimed at the proper transition from remote work to in-office work, as well as the testing and medical screening of employees.

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