Many mid-sized law firms mandate vaccinations, others wait and see


  • Companies with less than 100 employees not included in federal vaccine mandates
  • Founder of midsize company said following Biden’s rules was always “the right thing to do”

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(Reuters) – Law firms that are not covered by President Joe Biden’s recent vaccine tenure because they have fewer than 100 employees have had to consider whether they should independently ask their lawyers to obtain the shot.

Many of America’s largest law firms have already responded to the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant as well as the federal mandate by requiring those who come to the office to be vaccinated.

While some midsize companies are taking a more wait-and-see stance, many seem to share the approach of their Big Law counterparts, even though they employ less than 100 people.

“Regardless of politics, it’s just the right thing to do,” said Steven Molo, founding partner of litigation firm MoloLamken.

MoloLamken, which has around 40 lawyers and less than 100 employees in total, needed vaccines even before Biden made the September 9 announcement, Molo said.

Kane Kessler, who employs around 50 lawyers, decided in early August that everyone entering offices from October 4 be vaccinated. Before that, the company had “strongly encouraged” vaccines and had already made it compulsory to wear a mask in public spaces.

Although the decision to impose vaccines came before Biden’s announcement, Tullman said the federal order makes the company’s decision “more defensible.”

At Kane Kessler, there is no way to opt out of the vaccination mandate unless an employee has a “good faith medical reason” or “sincere religious belief,” according to Tullman.

Kent Zimmermann, partner at law firm Zeughauser Group, said midsize companies might be reluctant to draw a line in the sand on vaccines for fear of losing candidates when the competition for talent associates will reach records.

He said that without the deep pockets of larger competitors, midsize companies are already at a disadvantage in the war for talent and are therefore reluctant to “alienate the people they need to attract and retain” through a warrant.

Most companies are already seeing an immunization rate above 85% and are hoping the mandate issue will become a “non-issue,” he said.

“They have a culture in which it’s difficult to create mandates on anything they might avoid,” said Zimmermann, who also noted that since the partners collectively own businesses, there is an additional layer of complication.

John Giardino, managing partner in the New York office of Los Angeles-based company Michelman & Robinson, said the Biden administration’s vaccine directive raised more questions than answers for the company, which has more than 100 employees but not more than 100 in any of the five offices.

“We are following the mandate – we know that. We are waiting for the CDC to announce its response. And of course there is an ongoing litigation, so we imagine the courts have something to say about it,” Giardino said. . .

The company has more than 90% inoculation, according to Giardino, and 100% in New York. Employees can refuse vaccination, wear masks and undergo weekly tests. Giardino said the company will comply with a warrant if necessary once directions are clearer.

Mid-sized Texan company Sheehy, Ware, Pappas & Grubbs has an estimated vaccination rate of around 80%, according to Taylor Munn, the company’s business development coordinator.

While the 50-lawyer firm promotes the wearing of masks in public office spaces and has “a plan in place” to encourage vaccines, there is currently no warrant and no plan for one, Munn said.

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