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Law Practice Management
4. Have expectations for partners as well as associates. If you embrace flexibility and individual decision making, make sure the partner honors that and doesn’t just pay lip service to it.
5. Be transparent. If you will require associates to be present every day, make sure everyone knows that. When you recruit, make sure everyone knows that. If you are going to be flexible, announce that too. But make sure your advancement is true to your policy: don’t penalize associates that work from home when the firm ostensibly allows it.
6. Whatever your policy is, make it consistent with your culture. Don’t say we value independence and flexibility when you don’t. Don’t say we value in-person office time and then let some work remotely and others not. Some firms want lawyers who can make individual choices and are okay with living and working with a more flexible arrangement.
Other firms can’t stomach that: they should hire people who want more structure. Either way, say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t have secret unwritten rules.
Bottom Line
Firms will need to face this issue in 2023 and will have to make some decisions. And the decisions need not be the same for every firm. So how should firms answer the remote work conundrum? If firms believe in their culture, they should let their culture and strategic planning govern how they answer this question. And once they answer it, they should trumpet that answer to those they want to hire.
Bottom line: recognize why you want people in the office and promulgate your reasoning. Recognize what associates want and try to accommodate them when you can. Weed out those who abuse your system instead of making arbitrary rules for everyone. Remote work isn’t going away, so deal with it from a needs- based analysis.
Stephen Embry is a member of the FDCC Evolve and Law Practice Management Committees as well as a faculty member of
FedTechU. He can be reached at The full article has been published in the PLI Chronicle: Insights and Perspectives for the Legal Community,

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