Editor’s note: This article has been corrected.
Starting Monday, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath will be requiring employees and visitors to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus before being allowed to enter any of its offices, according to the law firm.
The Indiana Lawyer has reached out to several law firms in the state to inquire if they have shifted policies and are now mandating or planning to mandate vaccinations. Through the spring and summer, many firms had been encouraging lawyers and staff to get the coronavirus shots, but Faegre Drinker is the first to tell IL it is moving to make the inoculation a requirement.
Ice Miller and Dinsmore & Shohl say they have not put any mandates in place, although they continue to monitor the changes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faegre Drinker has more than 1,300 attorneys, consultants and professionals in 21 locations across the United States, London and Shanghai. The firm has multiple offices Indiana, including one in Fort Wayne and two in Indianapolis.
Earlier this year, Faegre Drinker instituted a phased Return to Onsite Work Plan to gradually shift the employees from remote to in-person work. In June, when the firm described the reopening plan to The Indiana Lawyer, the Indianapolis offices were among the first to reopen under Phase 1 of the plan and employees throughout the firm were being encouraged to get the COVID-19 inoculation.
The firm is now mandating that all personnel who are able to be vaccinated should provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 4. This is the day Faegre Drinker has scheduled for the start of Phase 2 of the reopening plan, which will have the firm transitioning to a hybrid workplace model.
“We adopt these measures with the health and safety of firm colleagues, clients and loved ones in mind and hope that strong action now will help restore the forward progress that until recently was so encouraging,” Faegre Drinker said in a statement.
Dinsmore & Shohl reported that at present it is not requiring vaccinations of its attorneys, staff or visitors to its offices. The firm, which started in Cincinnati, came to Indiana in 2021 when it merged with Wooden McLaughlin and now has three locations in the Hoosier State: Indianapolis, Evansville and Bloomington.
“We don’t currently have a policy on vaccines but as with everything in this pandemic, we are exploring our options to keep our clients and employees safe,” Faith Whittaker, Dinsmore employment practice group chair, said in a statement.
Ice Miller also has not instituted any kind of vaccination mandate, according to Chief Managing Partner Steven Humke. The firm — which has about 700 attorneys in seven offices, with the largest being in Indianapolis — is still planning to formally reopen after Labor Day.
However, Humke said the firm is continuing to watch what happens. Its plans and policies could change depending on whether the threat from the delta variant continues to worsen and new public health restrictions are put in place as a result.
“I’m looking at everything all the time,” Humke said.