During the corporate boom of 2021, law firms desperate for associate staffing went on a hiring frenzy in which almost no associate demand was too much. Double your current salary? Check. Enormous signing bonus? Check. Totally remote work? Check.
Now that demand for legal services has receded in corporate and other areas, and firms look forward to an uncertain 2023, associates are no longer in the driver’s seat and the work-from-anywhere ethos of the pandemic is on the line. According to recent reports in this paper, law firms are moving away from enticements to return to the office and instead imposing requirements, with some tying in-person attendance to job security and bonuses. While we don’t know whether the carrot or the stick will prove to be the best strategy for a return to the office, we continue to believe as we have said before that at least some in-person working is essential to the legal profession and particularly to development of the next generation of lawyers.