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Wake Up Call: Mayer Brown Eyes Two Days Remote Work Per Week

Aug. 10, 2021, 12:24 PM

In today’s column, Big Law firms, powered by a recovering economy, enjoyed booming profits in the second quarter, a report says; several firms updated return-to-office plans, and a few more announced vaccine mandates, as Delta-variant Covid-19 cases rise and government guidance evolves.

  • Leading off, Mayer Brown said it expects its offices worldwide to be “fully open and operational from Sept. 13,” subject to local government guidance. The firm’s “global working from home policy has also been updated to reflect the appetite of many for a more flexible work schedule. People will be allowed to work from home for two days a week,” a London-based spokeswoman told Bloomberg Law. She said the firm currently has no vaccine mandate, and its mask policy is “subject to ongoing review.” (The Lawyer)
  • Several other law firms are backing off specific dates for office returns as Delta cases rise across the country. Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr said it wants employees to work in office two or three days per week starting in early October, but it will require them to be vaccinated to enter. (Legal Intelligencer) Boies Schiller Flexner also announced a vaccine mandate, while California-based litigation boutique Sanford Heisler Sharp, which in April was among the first firms to announce a vaccine mandate, said it is postponing its office return, which it had set for Sept. 9. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Large law firm profitability rebounded sharply in the second quarter from pandemic lows, powered by high rates and falling expenses. Demand for law firm services soared in the quarter, beating pre-pandemic levels, a report says. (Thomson Reuters via PR Newswire)
  • An employee association representing federal prosecutors urged the Justice Department to review its compensation policies and use of unpaid appointments. The group says assistant U.S. attorneys make as much as $40,000 less than other DOJ attorneys, which hampers recruiting for women and people of color. (Government Executive)
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hired Sullivan & Cromwell for help facing sexual harassment allegations against him. (New York Law Journal)
  • A group of eight London law and audit firms launched a network aimed at advising on global cryptocurrency disputes within the English court system. (Financial News)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • King & Spalding hired former Boies trial partner Jeffrey Hammer as a partner in Los Angeles. He rejoins a group of 13 Boies partners that jumped to K&S’ trial and investigations group in California last year; Sheppard Mullin grabbed a team of five intellectual property lawyers in Washington from Dentons, led by partner Martin Bruehs, who becomes its chemical patent practice chair for the East Coast; Shook, Hardy & Bacon hired former Manatt partner Scot Fishman as its new director of pro bono, a role he held at his previous firms; Fox Rothschild added cannabis industry attorney Vijay S. Choksi in West Palm Beach, Fla., as counsel. He’s a former regulated substances attorney at Kelley Kronenberg and most recently was at GrowHealthy as general counsel and senior compliance director. (FoxRothschild.com)
  • Squire Patton Boggs hired Ashurst tax partner Jeffrey H. Koppele as a partner in New York. Squire also got capital markets lawyer Jennifer Val, joining as of counsel in New York from Thompson Hine; DLA Piper hired health care litigator Deborah Samenow, a former U.S. Health Department administrative judge, Medicare Appeals Council, as of counsel in its litigation and regulatory practice and health care sector in Washington; Linklaters hired Quinn Emanuel trial and white collar partner Richard Smith, a former federal prosecutor and DOJ litigation deputy chief, as a partner in its dispute resolution practice; Akerman brought in bankruptcy and reorganization attorney John Thompson as a partner in Washington. He arrives from McGuireWoods. (Akerman.com)
  • Wilson Sonsini hired veteran in-house national security lawyer Jahna Hartwig as senior counsel in Washington. Hartwig, a Big Law attorney earlier in her career, arrives from Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. where she was a principal and associate general counsel for ethics & compliance, leading the firm’s international trade compliance program, and data privacy and compliance analytics programs; Frost Bank hired in-house leader C.E. Rhodes as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary; INX Limited, which runs blockchain-based platforms for trading digital securities and cryptocurrencies, said it hired a former virtual currency chief at the New York State Department of Financial Services, Jonathan Blattmachr, as deputy general counsel. (PR Newswire)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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