Morgan Lewis & Bockius is soon to require that its attorneys physically work outside of the office for three days a weekly. Since returning from lockdowns related to pandemics, Philadelphia's biggest law firm only required its lawyers to work one or two days per week.
Above the Law was the first to break the news. It had obtained a letter by Gordon Cooney, Chairman of the Litigation Department, in which he stated that lawyers will be required to commute every Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesday starting June 1. The news was first reported by Above the Law, which obtained a letter from Litigation Department Chairman Gordon Cooney that stated lawyers would be required to commute to their office every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday beginning June 1.
Morgan Lewis spokeswoman, via email to the Philadelphia Business Journal on Friday, said: 'Yes. We want to be able to predict when our colleagues will be in the office so that we can maximize our time for training and collaboration while maintaining flexibility.' Tuesday-Thursday is when many of our clients, peers and summer associates are in the office.
Morgan Lewis employs more than 2,200 lawyers in 32 offices. The firm is ranked eighth in the AmLaw 100, with $2.7 billion gross revenue for 2022. Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon stated that the firm returned to work in October 2021. However, this was on a voluntary basis because of the Delta variant Covid-19.
Above the Law quoted an insider at Morgan Lewis who said that the management had originally 'promised' flexibility. Some lawyers are unhappy that they now have to 'adjust' their schedules to accommodate working from the office.
Many lawyers in large Philadelphia law firms are reluctant to return to work because they have grown accustomed to spending more time with their families and feel that working remotely is the best way to do their job. Since partners are co-owners, it is difficult to require them to be in the office. Most local firms have responded by strongly encouraging but not requiring their employees to return to the office a certain number of days each week. Law firm managers worry about the impact remote work has on culture, training and collaboration.
Morgan Lewis in Philadelphia plans to move its headquarters from 1701 Market Street to 2222 Market Street later this year. The back office will eventually be relocated to 1801 Market. Morgan Lewis will be the only tenant of the new building, which will house more than 1,000 local employees. Parkway Corp. is developing the project.