Reed Smith today outlined a phased-in approach for returning to the office and identified September 7 as the date that the firm’s 17 U.S. offices will be fully reopened, subject to local restrictions related to COVID-19. As part of this transition, a new flexible work policy has been rolled out for lawyers and professional staff globally.

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“The move to flexible work represents a step forward in transforming our business based on the new understanding we have gained from our remote work experience during the pandemic,” said Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s Global Managing Partner. “We have learned that we can serve our clients at the highest level in a work environment that includes flexibility, and that this arrangement offers significant benefits to our people as well.”

The firm’s approach to flexible work, which also stresses the value of working and collaborating in the office, is an extension of Reed Smith’s culture. It is reflective of the importance of collaboration, the benefits of personal contact with colleagues and clients, the need for mentoring, and the apprenticeship nature of the legal profession that is critical for associates and other junior lawyers. It is also reflective of the realities of the modern workplace, where technology can facilitate far-reaching connectivity and efficiency.

The phased-in approach begins in May when U.S. offices will be prepared to accommodate more people working in the office. In June, a “Welcome Back Wednesday” program will be launched in the U.S., and everyone will be encouraged to sign up to work in the office on one Wednesday that month. On those Wednesdays, the firm will provide boxed lunches, set up social gatherings for personnel to safely reconnect, as well as tech and office support to facilitate getting individual offices comfortably up and running. On July 6, there will be a soft opening of offices for U.S. personnel to come into the office, and will be by reservation only to monitor the capacity on each office floor. Offices will be staffed to fully support the business as people begin to return in larger numbers under the new approach to flexible work. On September 7, U.S. offices will be fully open, again subject to local health regulations and capacity limits.