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Reed Smith, Fried Frank to Require Vaccines in Office Return (2)

July 30, 2021, 5:29 PM; Updated: July 30, 2021, 11:51 PM

Reed Smith and Fried Frank are joining a growing wave of law firms telling their employees they must be vaccinated when they return to the office in September.

The firms recently informed lawyers and staff they are expected to return to offices on a flexible basis beginning Sept. 13. Employees were also told that they must be vaccinated by that time, spokespersons for the firms told Bloomberg Law Friday.

“With the prevalence of the Delta variant and the contagious nature of that strain, we have concluded that to best protect our people, it now makes sense to require that Reed Smith personnel who come into our offices be vaccinated,” Doug Cameron, Reed Smith’s Managing Partner for the Americas, said in a statement provided to Bloomberg Law.

Reed Smith will also require employees and visitors to wear masks in offices in locations deemed “high” or “substantial” Covid transmission areas by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The moves follow similar announcements from Cooley, Hogan Lovells, Davis Wright Tremaine, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. It comes as firms throughout the country, and their big business clients, wrestle with whether to force their workers to return to an office setting as the pandemic has taken on new life through the spread of Covid-19’s Delta variant.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our people,” a statement from Fried Frank said. “We continue to closely monitor the evolution of the virus, the science and data and the advice of experts, including those with whom we consult, and will adjust our plans if circumstances dictate we do so.”

Fried Frank, along with real estate manager Brookfield Properties, on Thursday announced that the firm has signed a long-term lease renewal for its 400,000-square-foot office in the One New York Plaza building. The firm and the developer said jointly that since the onset of the pandemic, the deal represented the largest office lease in Lower Manhattan so far in 2021.

Hogan Lovells recently announced that it was slightly delaying its return to U.S. offices until Sept. 13—and requiring vaccinations for anyone who wants to go in to an office before that time.

Richard Lorenzo, Hogan’s regional managing partner for the Americas, said at the time that more than 70% of those at Hogan Lovells in the Americas have “voluntarily confirmed” that they are fully vaccinated.

—With assistance from Meghan Tribe.

(Updated to include information on Reed Smith's return-to-office policy.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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