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Ropes & Gray set to ditch 5-day in-office week for UK associates

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US player latest to adopt more flexible approach to lawyering

US outfit Ropes & Gray has become the latest law firm to layout its post-pandemic approach to lawyering, telling its associates, including those in London, they will no longer be expected to be in the office five days a week.

The firm recently unveiled a three phase approach that will initially see lawyers return to the office on an “entirely optional” basis. It then hopes lawyers will begin to come into the office more often from September. For the final phase, Ropes hopes to see a more “regular rhythm to office life”, with lawyers spending around three days a week at their desks.

But here’s the key bit. “No matter what phase we are in, we endorse flexibility post-pandemic”, the firm’s top brass told lawyers in a memo published by the website AboveTheLaw. “We don’t expect that we’ll ever mandate a five-day a week in-office environment”.

The flexi-working plans apply to lawyers in the firm’s London office too, a spokesperson for Ropes told Legal Cheek.

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A whole raft of firms have now gone public with new hybrid work polices.

Freshfields, Linklaters and Clifford Chance all recently gave the go-ahead for their lawyers and staff to work away from the office for up to 50% of the time, while Allen & Overy predicts staff will work remotely for around 40% of the working week once the pandemic is over.

Other firms to take a more flexible approach to life as a lawyer post-pandemic include Norton Rose Fulbright, Taylor Wessing, Herbert Smith Freehills and Squire Patton Boggs.

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