Kelly Culhane in The American Lawyer: Law firm leaders push back against the ‘Back to Office’ message

Culhane Meadows’ co-founder and managing partner, Kelly Culhane, was recently interviewed by  Law.com and its sister-site The American Lawyer, for an article which explores the response from law firms to the ‘back to office’ message.

Here are some key excerpts from the article:

Morgan Stanley jolted the legal industry last week with a letter urging its outside law firms to return their attorneys to the office. Now some law firms—including those that have built their business models around remote work—are pushing back.

Leaders of virtual firms stress their conscious focus on building systems to support remote work sets them apart from the traditional law firms that have had to scramble during the pandemic. And some believe that if these established firms bow to demands over in-person from major clients, even more attorneys will flock to their increasingly popular platforms.

Leaders at a number of virtual firms were sympathetic to one component of Grossman’s [chief legal officer of Morgan Stanley) letter: his concern about training rising attorneys. ”Individual lawyers learn and perform best, and collectively deliver the best results, when they are together—actually together,” Grossman wrote in a letter obtained by Law.com.

But many virtual firms don’t work with newly minted attorneys, instead employing a leverage model where the vast majority of attorneys are partners who do most, if not all, of their clients’ work.

“I understand his concern about making sure his lawyers are well trained, but I don’t think that there ought to be a blanket statement that none of the lawyers at law firms should be working remotely,” said Wilson, at Taylor English.

Kelly Rittenberry Culhane only hires senior attorneys at Culhane Meadows, where she’s founder and managing partner [of the largest women-owned national full-service law firm in America]. But she landed on a similar point.

“If he’s making a statement as a legal officer of a major company, saying to the legal community, ‘We have to mentor’ … there’s many ways you can do that without forcing
everyone back into the office,” she said.

View the entire article HERE.


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