David Nasatir Discusses Hybrid Work Policies in The Legal Intelligencer
Obermayer Chair David Nasatir was interviewed by The Legal Intelligencer on July 21, 2023, in connection with the stricter standards for staff to come into the office than attorneys and the potential morale problems this could cause among staff.
Although many firms have begun pressuring legal teams to come back into the office, not all office attendance expectations are equal. While secretarial and support staff spend the bulk of their time in the office, attorneys tend to have more flexibility in determining their workplace habits for themselves. Some firm leaders, cognizant of this disparity, even worry about the morale of staff members.
At Obermayer, staff are asked to be in the office four days a week, whereas attorneys are encouraged to be in two to three days a week. Asked if he worries about the morale of staff with different office attendance expectations, David Nasatir said, “Absolutely, I worry about it.”
“Their role is critical in the office,” he said. “It’s not showing favoritism, it’s saying, ‘I need you to be in the office.’ I want them to understand why we’re doing this.”
Despite the greater flexibility lawyers are often afforded, firm leaders say there are incentives, if not mandates, that are driving lawyers back into the office as well.
“I think [hybrid work] is here to stay but I do think that the pendulum will swing back to in-person work if the labor market tightens up and the economy tightens,” Nasatir said.