Weil mandates four day in-office week in London

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


Move brings City lawyers in line with US colleagues

Weil Gotshal & Manges has become the latest firm to implement a four day in-office policy.

Lawyers working in Weil’s London office are expected to attend the office at least four days a week, in a move that brings them in line with their colleagues in the US.

The shift, which will come into effect from 4 September, is designed to support lawyer’s training and increase moral and professional development, according to the firm.

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Weil currently offers around 15 training contracts every year in London, and first year trainees are some of the highest paid in the City at £60,000. This rises to £65,000 in year two, with NQs taking home a staggering £165,000.

A raft of big US legal players have mandated that staff come into the office four days a week including Vinson & Elkins, Skadden, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Ropes & Gray.

While most UK firms have so far resisted setting similar four day requirements, Osborne Clarke did recently announce it is tying bonuses to office attendance.



I previously found it hard to turn down US offers and often wondered if I made a mistake given the enormous salary differences between US and SC firms (at 3-5 pqe). Not anymore … I fully appreciate that many prefer working with colleagues in the office and I mean no offence but I think the reason for that is that they don’t have a great social/family life, which is understandable with a job like this. For those however to whom life comes first and working for a law firm is just a rather simple way of getting a decent salary (it’s really not that hard of a job, the only problem with it is that what you are selling is your time really not your “expertise”), some flexibility around WFH is essential.


What firm did you stick with in the end? Personally I would be like a chameleon, I have no loyalty to any firm. Whatever suits my preference at any given moment lol


It is a stretch to suggest those who prefer to work in the office don’t have a great social/family life. You can have a great social/family life but still prefer to work from the office for the majority of the time.

If there is flexibility around working hours/patterns, the biggest hindrance to people coming into the office is people opting to live a million miles away from the office. It is obviously going to be more difficult to get the work/life balance right if you slam yourself with a 2 hour commute. I think those who want to WFH multiple days or for the majority of the week are either (a) social hermits, or (b) have opted to live in the arse end of nowhere and expect to receive a large salary without appreciating part of the job ideally includes a presence in the office both for internal and client-facing purposes.


I have to agree that it is a stretch to suggest that.

And it is not only in legal jobs but in any “office” job.

I am a Senior Recruitment Consultant doing mainly legal & audit jobs. I live only three miles away from the office and I have the bus stop a few minutes walk from my flat. I really like to go to the office three or four days a week, I have a huge desk and a very comfy chair, I genuinely like the people I work with.
I am a happy wife and mother and friends outside work so clearly, not everything is so black’n’white as some people (in this case Moaner) think 🙂


It was a stretch, you are right and I should not have generalised. That said, I live in Kentish Town so rather close to the office and do not consider myself a social hermit. Indeed it’s because I like for example going away for long weekends with my family/friends, meeting non-city friends nearby for a quick lunch and being home for dinner with my 1 y/o son that I prefer 2 days at home (don’t think it’s a terribly big ask yet life changing for me). In those days I don’t mind logging back in and working until very late (something for something). But in firms mandating 4 days a week it would just be “all for money” rather than a decent balance (won’t call it good balance as a good balance would be finishing at 6 and turning off the laptop until next day).

US Trainee

If you are supposed to be working you shouldn’t be going away for a long weekend? Am I missing something?


I like going into the office and do it about 4 times a week anyway. But I’d still leave if the firm mandated me to do it. It’s a cultural statement that they aren’t interested in “as long as all the work gets done” flexibility. They just want to own you and your life.

My social and family life is great though thanks. I’ve never understood why people pretend that doing a 12 hour work day in a room in your house rather than in town somehow means you see your friends more. Obviously different for those with children.

US Trainee

We have mandated office attendance but if you have evening work most go home at 6 and carry on. It is not complete inflexibility and if you need to be at home for some reason no one will care you are not in the office.

Sounds awful

Jesus… the worst of both worlds. Forced to come into the office but still have to log in and continue to work at home once you’ve left the office for the day. Great system!

US Trainee

I mean, you can stay in the office if you want? No one in law is clocking off at 6 every day and just going home???

Mr Bing

God save the clients of future partners who’ve spent their whole career WFH 4 days a week. Crap training, crap networking, crap work ethic.

Reply to bing

So are you for or against working from home?

Mr Bing

against for juniors. 1/2 days p/w fine.


No reason to mandate 4 days a week though. Permanent WFH people usually aren’t very good, that’s true, but you’re not going to make them better by forcing them into the office.


Many of the partners I worked with in private practice and now frequently encounter from the other side have crap work ethic, crap legal skills and crap social skills. It’s not something new to the legal profession.


I just don’t get it..were profits dwindling when people were working from home or something?

Playing devil’s advocate

I mean before covid, that was arguably the norm….

Are you paying attention?

Yeah and then covid happened and things changed and now we’re in a different situation?


Weil has a nice office tbf..would still want the choice though.


Hoping this contagion does not spread to my US firm which mandates Tues to Thurs in office. 4 is a grim new trend


Have definitely seen a substantial decline in the quality and work ethic of juniors since wfh.


Fair enough, so it’s the trainees and junior lawyers fault lol. Is this for weil specifically ?


Is there any way to FIRE (financial independence and retire early) at these top paying law firms?

Cold mezze

If you’re going to spell out the acronym why bother using it?


That’s all you took from my question?

Rex George

Stop trying to make FIRE happen. It’s not going to happen.


Dangerously based from Weil.


4 days in the office is excessive but when you join a US firm, it is part of the Faustian Bargain after all. However, when it’s the low-tier firms that pay peanuts that directly or indirectly mandate office attendance (like OC), that’s when it gets ridiculous.


The trend continues, US firms are clearly on the same path towards full working in the office. The worry is if this contagion spreads to the MC / SC law firms. Do people think if one MC firm goes 4 days a week, the others will follow??


The way I see it going is there will be a salary fork.

There is inherent value added when individuals go into the office. That value will differ depending on firm and role. But there is value there.

I can see a scenario whereby those willing to commit to 3/4/5 days a week will be remunerated for the value they add, whereas there will be an opting to come in 0/1/2 days per week will not.

Remote blozzer

My G, what ‘inherent value add’ are you talking about?

Do you mean the ‘value add’ of sharing an office with somebody else and having to drown out the sound of their office gossip chat so you can focus on actual work? Or the ‘value add’ of somebody barging in to ask a ‘quick question’ which is never so?

Remuneration should be tied directly to output (ie, billable hours) rather than some nebulous concept of ‘value add’.


There’s a lot of value one can add to a firm or a team that goes beyond just being a monkey churning documents.

Finance associate

Weil offers reasonably decent work life balance compared to other top US sweatshops like STB, K&E and Paul Hastings.


In your dreams they do.

John Carpenter

Also Paul Hastings is not a top US shop. The other two you mentioned, are.


Is 165k even a lot of money these days in your 20s and early 30s???


What’s it actually being on a U.S. firm associate salary? Is it life changing??

Doctor Doctor

Loving the high doses of copium in these comments!

MC Junior Associate

Permanent WFH is not a plausible long-term prospect for law firms (or indeed anyone). It worked during/post-pandemic because all the people doing the heavy lifting had trained in the office and therefore knew what they were doing. But then those people retire, or leave, or get hit by a bus, and then you’re left with a bunch of people who simply don’t have the same skills as the previous cohort. And now *they* are required to train juniors, who also don’t have the same skills as previous juniors. And this downskilling continues, until you end up with departments full of men and women who simply don’t know how to do their jobs very well. You can probably create a workable document-blozzer that way, but never someone who’s going to be a great lawyer or add any meaningful value.

On the other hand, 5 days in the office is counterproductive and not what anybody wants. It infantilises employees and makes them resentful and grumpy – which is also terrible for building a skilled and motivated workforce. There’s a middle ground here, and it’ll depend on the wider package that a firm offers. If you’re Weil, four days plus life-changing amounts of money is not a bad package overall; for firms which pay a bit less, three days would work better. Plus factor into that culture, WLB (pulling all-nighters is rubbish whether you’re in the office or at home) and all the other intangibles.


What’s salary can you be at 3 pqe or 4 pqe without losing your hair?


Mate FIRE is already happening on Reddit I don’t make the rule s

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