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BigLaw Firm Starts Letting Associates Work From Home

Working from home isn't just for tech workers and Instagram celebrities anymore. About one quarter of the workforce telecommutes frequently, a number that's more than doubled over the past decade.

Now, that number is starting to include more and more BigLaw associates. Morgan Lewis, Philadelphia's largest law firm with 2000 attorneys across almost 30 offices, announced last week that it will let its associates work from home starting this May.

No Need to Be Tethered to the Office

The trend toward work-from-home days is relatively new in BigLaw. When Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon started out decades ago, for example, working from home was nearly impossible.

"Everyone was in the office all the time," McKeon told Bloomberg's Big Law Business. "When I was raising children, I would go home to put them to bed and come back to the office. Some days I would stay there all night. The books were in the library in the office, the typewriter was in the office, the Xerox was in the office."

No longer. Now, all you need is a computer and you can accomplish many legal tasks no matter where you are.

Under Morgan Lewis's new policy, associates with at least two years' experience will be able to work from home two days a week.

Making the Firm More Competitive

To make sure that associates aren't handling important documents on the same MacBook Pro that they share with their kids, Morgan Lewis is investing big to make sure that its attorneys' home offices match their office offices. The firm is giving its attorneys a full in-home office set up, according to Bloomberg, with dual monitors, docking stations, headsets and the like.

Morgan Lewis isn't the only BigLaw firm to institute a work-from-home policy, and it certainly won't be the last. The move is part of a growing trend toward recruiting and retaining talent through treating policies as perks. Some firms offer generous parental leave, others give endless vacation days, and now more firms are letting their lawyers lawyer from their home -- drafting documents and doing legal research in their pajamas, perhaps, and without the annoyance of a commute downtown.

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