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  • Writer's pictureIan Delaney

Where Has All the Remote Work Gone?

“Remote work has also had significant negative effects…nearly half [of respondents] felt declines in…co-worker relationships.” – Sara Merkin, Reuters

The wide-spread ability for attorneys to work fully remotely due to the pandemic has all but disappeared, however many attorneys, especially junior associates, are still primarily looking for those opportunities.

The lateral market is currently in the middle of a significant shift. Hiring is slowing. Firms are being more strategic than they have been. Enormous signing bonuses are long gone. Some firms are even not offering any signing bonuses. We are in the middle of returning to a firm-driven market. This is, by no means, a dire shift, but it does mean that different tactics have to be taken for those considering the lateral market.

Being in the middle of this shift means that there is still a push/pull between firm needs and associate desires. As much as some associates desire to be fully remote, firms have found that it can be a disservice to a young attorney’s growth. This is reflected in the common complaint I’m hearing that mentorship and training can be tough to come by. The work can absolutely be done remotely, we’ve all seen proof of that, but impromptu conversations and spontaneous mentorship opportunities are much, much more difficult to coordinate over Zoom.

The firms I’ve been speaking with aren’t asking people to return to the office a few days a week to babysit the work, but instead so that they can better help create an environment for better mentorship and training. Of course, this only works when the partners are in office when associates are – and that is a different conversation entirely!

It is still possible to find fully remote work (I’m working on such a search right now), but it is something to carefully consider and be very aware of what opportunity costs there may be.

Having someone in your corner during this time of flux, someone to answer questions and share ideas, is an invaluable asset.


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