LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
COMPILED BY EUA
Businesses across the globe have faced a variety of challenges in returning to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to these unprecedented circumstances requires finding a balance between upholding and instituting policy, and ensuring health and safety, which could involve altering the physical workspace. As an architecture firm that supports workplace design, Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) has spoken with many clients about how they are handling this transition. This article highlights conversations with Denver-area leaders in the law sector, an industry with a traditionally in-person, office-intensive design. Their organizations operate in a variety of settings—from a new office design completed within weeks of the pandemic’s start to a legal co working space. While each was deemed an essential business and permitted to stay open during the pandemic, their approaches varied considerably.
Arnold & Porter: Slow and Steady
With 14 offices across the globe, Arnold & Porter has taken a phased approach to its return based on each office’s geographic setting. EUA helped the firm put the finishing touches on its new 25,000 square foot Denver office. We met virtually with Christopher Ruschaupt, director of administrative project management, and Scott McCombs, Denver office administrator, who described their firm’s “slow and steady” approach to returning to the office.
Transitioning to a Remote Work Force
According to McCombs, “business remained steady through March and April, in part because our clients needed legal guidance on how best to navigate the impacts of COVID-19.” When it came to the immediate need to work remotely, he felt Arnold & Porter transitioned seamlessly. Most case files were already in electronic format, and the firm’s technology infrastructure allowed everybody to work effectively from home, even staff members who previously had no remote access. Ruschaupt added that before the pandemic there was no formal work-from-home policy, but technology quickly stepped in, allowing for industry-standard remote working requirements, such as enhanced videoconferencing technologies (e.g., Zoom and webinars), to support communication and connectivity between attorneys, clients, and staff.