Law Firms

More law firms are moving to make Election Day a paid holiday

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As a growing number of large law firms offer their employees paid time off to participate in the Nov. 3 presidential election, the legal community may wonder, is this a one-time holiday or a lasting trend?

The American Lawyer poses the question in a recent report, which pointed to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Crowell & Moring and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan as the latest firms to make the move.

Hogan Lovells and Littler Mendelson, as well as Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Jenner & Block and Fenwick & West have all taken similar actions in recent weeks.

Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith said in a Sept. 1 press release by making Election Day a holiday, the firm hopes that its lawyers and business services personnel will not only vote but assist with voter participation and engage in pro bono activities.

“We recognize that, particularly against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are at a unique moment in time and want to be certain that we are giving everyone the opportunity to fully participate in our democracy and to have a positive impact on their community,” she said.

Akin Gump has also created an election task force to help its employees identify Election Day opportunities, including how to sign up as a poll worker or assist with election security efforts.

In announcing his firm’s decision to give all U.S. personnel a paid day off on Election Day, Crowell & Moring chair Philip T. Inglima said “the pandemic has visited many challenges upon us, and one of them this year is sure to be the election’s logistics.”

“For those who will vote in person, the day off will facilitate that effort,” he said. “For those who seek to volunteer working the polls, or transporting relatives or neighbors to polling stations, it will make that enormously important public service possible.”

Inglima added that the paid day off highlights the significance of election participation in a year full of challenges.

“At a time when racial justice issues, voting rights concerns, the pandemic and economic upheaval are roiling the American people, this election deserves and requires our undivided attention,” he said.

According to the American Lawyer, other firm leaders are considering Election Day holidays but have not made official announcements.

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