As each state slowly rolls out COVID-19 vaccine distribution procedures, many offices across the nation are grappling with timing a return to the office. Managing Partner Ronald Shechtman shared his thoughts on remote work and considerations for establishing a "new normal" post-pandemic. According to The American Lawyer:
"There was a lot of shared hope, speaking generally for the newsmakers, thinking that maybe in late summer or early fall , we would see things coming back to whatever the New Normal may be," said Ronald Shechtman, managing partner and chair of New York City-based Am Law 200 firm Pryor Cashman. "That is aspirational. I think realistically that as the vaccine is shared among the herd, we'll see our offices filling again. What that means will be determined."
Like most firms, Pryor Cashman's offices are available to attorneys and staff on an "as-needed basis." But traffic is limited. Shechtman reports that of 160 lawyers resident in the firm's New York office, there are three to six there on any given day.
"Clearly, our lawyers don't feel comfortable navigating buses and trains to get to and from the office," he said. "But they continue to work efficiently and effectively from home."
"When this started, I did not think there would be a change, but I also thought we'd be back in the office last summer," Shechtman said. "I had to face the awakening that we were into something much deeper, the changes will be more profound and law firms will have to deal with a new mentality about how they work together and how they work remotely."
He described spending a rare day in his New York office and preparing to log in for a 2 p.m. Zoom call, only to realize that his computer there lacked both a camera and a microphone.
"The irony is, our offices are no longer equipped to work the way we're working," he said.
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