Barclay Damon Plans To Reopen Offices Amid Pandemic

By Hannah Albarazi
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Law360 (May 26, 2020, 10:29 PM EDT) -- The nearly 300-attorney law firm Barclay Damon LLP is planning to reopen all of its offices across the northeastern United States in the coming weeks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the law firm said Tuesday, but its attorneys and staff will also have the potentially permanent option of working remotely.

Going forward, Barclay Damon attorneys and staff may work remotely for part or all of the week, the firm said.

The firm said its offices in Boston; New Haven, Connecticut; New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Toronto will be fully reopened for client meetings and for attorneys and staff members who elect to work from the office.

"Because our service to clients did not waver, and because many of our attorneys and staff found working from home beneficial to their particular situations, we are exploring work-from-home as a permanent change to our delivery model," said Connie Cahill, Barclay Damon's deputy managing partner, who is leading the firm's reopening of its offices.

"If successful, we also see the change substantially expanding the geographic boundaries of our search for talent," Cahill said.

The firm's legal practice areas include, among others, intellectual property, cybersecurity, litigation and employment law.

In response to the pandemic, Barclay Damon has created a COVID-19 response team to assess regulatory, legislative and governmental developments. The response team has been producing webinars and alerts on topics related to the crisis, including guidance on small business aid, loan forgiveness and reopening businesses in accordance with state laws.

The team is tracking COVID-19 developments in order to provide advice and counsel for clients. In addition to helping small businesses determine whether they are eligible for federal funds and assisting them in the application process, the team is also providing guidance on labor issues including paid sick leave, unemployment benefits and compliance with wage and hour laws for remote workforces.

Barclay Damon's COVID-19 response team is also providing guidance on cybersecurity implications as businesses move their staff to remote work and on bankruptcy proceedings.

John Langan, Barclay Damon's managing partner, said the firm isn't rushing to get everyone back into the office.

"Our experience over the past few months confirms that most of our people are just as effective delivering top-quality legal services regardless of whether they are physically working from our offices," Langan said.

Langan stressed that the firm is listening to its clients and employees and that both are saying the same thing: "Be safe, stay flexible, and focus on results, not from where those results are generated."

In an email Thursday, Cahill told Law360 that Barclay Damon's office reopenings "will happen as regions get approval to do so, with the Rochester and Syracuse offices likely opening next week." 

Those openings will be followed by its Buffalo and Albany offices, Cahill said.

The firm's Boston office may be reopening in June, albeit at 10% capacity, which is the maximum allowance in Massachusetts, Cahill said.

Cahill also noted that Barclay Damon's New Haven office "never completely closed." 

Update: This article has been updated with additional comment from Barclay Damon. 

--Editing by Emily Kokoll.

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