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Biglaw Firm Orders Attorneys Back To Office Next Week, Cancels Vacation Carryover Policy

Leadership at Simpson Thacher’s London office have a looming date with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future after telling associates that the firm will not be organizing holiday coverage next week and that everyone needs to come back to the office. Oh, and while they were at it, the office blanket nixed vacation carryover requests. Happy holidays!

Roll On Friday does a fantastic job keeping the UK legal market honest and broke this exclusive account of how the firm’s London management went full Grinch.

It began with an email from real estate finance team partner Tom Lloyd, in an offering on Wednesday that opened with the “generous” concession that the team could work from home on December 21 to accommodate holiday preparations and travel. But then it turned ugly:

“Secondly: there will be no cover for holiday leave 27-29 December. It will likely be very quiet but everyone is expected to pick up things that come in on their transactions that are urgent in that time. Everyone is expected to have their laptop with them wherever they are (this is a general expectation when on holiday not just for this).”

The email also canceled cover for the first week of January.

To be clear, this isn’t about lawyers trying to eke out a free holiday. These are lawyers with unused vacation days hoping to exercise those days during the lowest activity week of the year. This is actually a boon for the firm, but Lloyd didn’t see it that way, instead bitterly complaining that everyone with vacation days in hand at the end of the year was “disappointing and, being honest, irritating.”

And so, for the lawyers’ own good, from next year they will no longer be permitted to carry over their unused holiday: “Unless we cancel someone’s pre-approved holiday, we will not be approving any carryover of holiday from 2024 to 2025”, said Lloyd.

“People need to plan ahead better”, he concluded. And if that isn’t a lovely Christmas message to your team, ROF doesn’t know what is.

The office’s managing partner Jason Glover sent his own holiday message:

“Each of Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th are working days with the Wednesday and Thursday being core office days where attendance is expected”, he said.

“Friday is a day when you are permitted to work from home”, he allowed, “although the office will be open for those who wish to come in. Cheers.” It brings a tear to the eye, so it does.

The UK considers Boxing Day a real holiday, but one suspects Simpson Thacher would also have everyone in on the 26th if they could.

Rather than attempt a kicker for this article, I give you the conclusion to Roll On Friday’s article because it simply cannot be outdone in light of Glover’s email about the firm’s “core office days” next week:

ROF emailed Glover for comment, but he wasn’t around: “I am away from the office returning Tuesday 2nd January. I will be picking up e-mails infrequently”. If only his associates could say the same.

EXCLUSIVE Simpson Thacher & Bartlett gives lawyers the Yuletide middle finger [Roll On Friday]


HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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