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JSA to re-open Gurgaon office (attendance purely voluntary) • CAM postpones soft openings to Diwali • UPDATE: CAM postpones to March 2021

J Sagar Associates (JSA) has announced that its Gurgaon office would be open for optional business again, though there would be no compulsion on fee-earners to return.

Dear Colleagues:

After many months of enduring a difficult lockdown, we are glad to share that we are finally re-opening our office in Gurugram to accommodate those who can work from office. We welcome you back starting Tuesday, October 27th, 2020.

Anyone coming to the office should be bringing home cooked food, the firm had added.

We reached out to JSA Gurgaon-based partner and executive committee member Upendra Sharma, who explained: “It’s only an iteration of earlier guidelines. Basically, office is open and those who want, can come.”

We asked whether there would be any pressure from partners on fee-earners to return. Sharma said there would be “no adverse consequences” for anyone not choosing to come to the office, and stated that “it’s only on voluntary basis”.

Each office location of the firm was guided by each respective state government guidelines, he added.

Several of the large firms’ offices are theoretically operating at present though official calls announcing returns to the office in these pandemic times can ruffle feathers, in part because fee earners may fear that it will be very hard to say no to a partner asking them to come into the office.

Meanwhile, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas confirmed that the firm has postponed the soft opening of its offices until Diwali, around 14 November 2020, from 19 October as as we had reported earlier this month.

The firm had originally nudged staff to “start coming back to work gradually, in a staggered manner” in an email, though managing partner Cyril Shroff added that the policy - like JSA’s - was “entirely voluntary"and that “nobody would be forced” to return.

Update 15:04: CAM has today announced a further postponement of default working from home until 31 March 2021, as part of a roll out of more flexible working across the board. More details shortly.

In June, Khaitan had begun cautiously re-opening offices at very limited maximum capacities, though lockdowns in cities such as Bengaluru made the move short-lived.

And Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) had faced flak for asking associates to return to the cities of their offices, as many had left to their home towns to be with their families.

We understand that the largest firms have been exceptions in re-opening offices and that several mid-size or smaller ones have been operating at near normal capacity.

If there are any other firms, large or small, that have fully opened offices, please share this in the comments or Contact Us.

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