Canadian Lawyer

September 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 6 of 51 5 wise been unacceptable to more senior lawyers that their assistant is not in the office. Now, all of a sudden, they're willing to do it." "The big learning for us was that we could multiply this across the whole office." Both Citton and Pancholy agree that the more significant challenge will be finding the young talent to support firms to determine the best approach. "Whether I talked to my Asian firms, Australian firms, US, Canada, Europe, you hear the same thing over and over again — that they're looking for talent. They're all in a position of needing to add talent, and they're struggling to find it," says Pancholy. For Shari Zinman-Levy, the director of "client and lawyer happiness" at Caravel Law, remote work and flexibility are nothing new. Caravel has attracted lawyers interested in flexibility well before the pandemic. Zinman-Levy has noticed that applicants are asking more questions about flexibility since larger firms are open to adopting that approach. "Now prospective lawyers are coming in and are asking questions like, how do you compare to x, y, z? Who are your competitors?" Zinman-Levy says Caravel differentiates itself not solely by what it offers lawyers but in how they connect recruitment to the client experience (hence her title). "There were times at our organization where those functions were separate. And they eventually came to be together. The value of that is that instead of having broken telephone with the middleman, I hear directly from the client what their goals are for this relationship." "Whether I talked to my Asian firms, Australian firms, US, Canada, Europe, you hear the same thing over and over again — that they're looking for talent." Sona Pancholy, Meritas WFH POLICIES Canadian Lawyer reached out to major full service and boutique law firms to see if they had developed a policy yet for "return to work" in mid-summer. Most law firms had not yet communicated a policy, but some did respond with details: Boughton Law: Will have a hybrid work week where staff and associates will have the option to spend a minimum of three days in the office and two days from home. Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP: Longer-term approach defines three roles: fully in office, fully remote, and hybrid (generally 8-12 days in office/month), expect most people will pick latter. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP: Will transition to a hybrid model based on versatility and flexibility after reviewing data cultivated from a firm-wide survey completed in the summer. MLT Aikins LLP: adopted a hybrid model with remote work offered as a flexible work option for most roles, including lawyers and staff and decided against a prescribed policy. Lavery Lawyers: Policy considers both preferences of members and the operational realities of each practice area. Employees will determine the number of days per week they wish to work at the office. Lerners LLP: First stage was "soft-open," where staff who return will need to follow a rotation schedule to ensure safe distancing but not mandating that lawyers return to daily in-office attendance. Gluckstein: Rotate support staff on two days in the office and two at home, with Fridays at home for all support staff. Lawyers have the flexibility to do what makes sense for them. Howie Sacks & Henry: Planning to adopt a hybrid model that will see team members working in our offices at least two days per week.

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