Mark, a managing partner, was exhausted from fielding the daily complaints he’d been getting since the firm implemented its hybrid return-to-office (RTO) policy. Some partners viewed associates as complying with the policy’s letter but not its spirit: they griped that associates were not taking advantage of their in-office time. Other partners argued the firm’s refusal to allow all-remote work was harming their groups’ recruiting efforts. And, Mark knew many associates were saying, “Why should I come in if the partners are too busy for me anyway?” and “I’m more productive working from home—why bother?”
It’s a tough time to lead a law firm. The pandemic, plus demographic changes including generational values shifts, has led to previously unthinkable questioning of long standing professional norms.