Sidley sets four day office week

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By Thomas Connelly on


Move mirrors other US players

US law firm Sidley Austin has become the latest outfit to mandate a four day in-office week, citing the benefits to both the professional and personal development of its lawyers.

The policy — which is similar to those already in place at the likes of Ropes & Gray, Weil Gotshal, Vinson & Elkins and Skadden — applies to lawyers and support staff, including those in firm’s London office.

“We believe that there is substantial benefit, including in respect of professional and personal development for our lawyers, when we work together in the office,” a Sidley spokesperson said. “As a result, we have implemented 4 day / week in-office attendance.”

The move by some law firms to mandate lawyers spend at least four days at their desks has divided opinions amongst Legal Cheek readers.

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“Hoping this contagion does not spread to my US firm which mandates Tues to Thurs in office,” one reader wrote. “4 is a grim new trend.” Another was equally dismissive: “I like going into the office and do it about 4 times a week anyway,” they said. “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.”

But others see the benefits of upping office attendance, with one commenter claiming to have witnessed “a substantial decline in the quality and work ethic of juniors since wfh”.

It’s also worth nothing that the firms so far mandating four day office attendance are some of the top payers in the City. Sidley, for example, pays trainees £60,000 in the second year of their training contracts, rising to a whopping £159,500 upon qualification.




Kirkland NQ

As all US firm employees know, one of the “substantial benefits” is the chance to use your Lambo for your daily commute.


US sweatshops leading the way as per. Sadly, although the UK firms don’t follow suit when it comes to pay, it’s more than a bit likely they’ll all eventually change their policies to four days a week in the office. The chat around moving firms if there is a change of policy at the firm you’re at is nothing more than Big Talk. In reality, it will rarely happen (and partners know that, and are emboldened by it). Lawyers are a risk averse bunch and they won’t jump ship unless they’re as near as damn certain it’ll be better elsewhere. The wfh policy can change in an instant at any firm so it’s a massive risk to move for that alone. People will just stay and eat the L. Only thing one can do is enjoy wfh while it lasts: life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look round once in a while you might miss it.


Bad move. Plenty of firms offer great WFH/Hybrid options now.

Wonder how they’ll retain support staff since 3-5k travel costs are a very significant chunk of money to those on the lower salaries. I’m sure they’ll see a lot of people leaving for new roles over the next few months. No one wants to do 4 days in the office. 

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