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Schiff Hardin, McDermott Push Office Return, Require Vaccine (1)

Aug. 2, 2021, 7:23 PM; Updated: Aug. 2, 2021, 9:03 PM

Schiff Hardin and McDermott Will & Emery are delaying their office returns until the fall and will require attorneys, staff, and visitors to be vaccinated.

Effective immediately, anyone entering Schiff Hardin’s offices must wear a mask and practice social distancing, the firm’s managing partner, Joe Krasovec, said in announcing the policy on Monday. The firm’s new return-to-office date is Nov. 4, and the vaccination mandate takes effect Aug. 9.

McDermott is pushing its broader office return to Oct. 12. Firm Chair Ira Coleman asked all employees to be vaccinated in a memo sent on Monday and acquired by Bloomberg Law. McDermott will require proof of vaccination to enter its U.S. offices starting on Friday. Masks will be required in open areas of offices.

The actions come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week issued guidance recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas where the virus is transmitting at high rates.

“The overwhelming body of scientific data shows that vaccines are safe and broadly effective in our battle against Covid,” Coleman wrote. “We need everyone to step up and get vaccinated.”

Schiff Hardin and McDermott are two of the first major law firms to push back their return to office plans deep into Fall as Covid-19 cases spike again. The virus has befuddled Big Law managing partners, who have become increasingly likely to require vaccinations for employees.

Most Big Law firms have planned office returns for September. Hogan Lovells last week pushed back its return to mid-September.

Other law firms that have required vaccines include Reed Smith, Fried Frank, Cooley, Hogan Lovells, Davis Wright Tremaine, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Schiff Hardin, which cited the CDC guidance in announcing its policy, has offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, among other cities across the U.S. McDermott has offices in those cities and also Miami, Boston, Houston, Silicon Valley, and others.

(Adds McDermott Will & Emery vaccine plans.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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