Morgan Stanley doesn’t just want its own employees back in the office. It also wants employees of the companies it works with back in the office.
In a memo sent last week, the Wall Street giant’s chief legal officer Eric Grossman urged a slew of white-shoe law firms the company works with to bring their attorneys back for in-person meetings, The Post has confirmed.
“I feel the need to sound a warning in light of what I have generally observed about the lack of urgency to return lawyers to the office,” Grossman said in the letter. “I firmly believe that the most productive meetings are those in person, and as we are already largely back in the office at Morgan Stanley, it is now clear to me that a hybrid meeting of live participants and Zoom participants is challenging at best.”
Morgan Stanley sent the missive to some of the top law firms it retains including Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Davis Polk; & Wardwell; and Shearman and Sterling.
Last week, Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman doubled down on his stance against working from home, saying there’s no substitute for schlepping into the office and toiling with colleagues in person.
“I fundamentally believe the way you and I develop our career is by being mentored and by watching and experiencing the professional skills of those who came before us,” the Wall Street mogul told analysts on the bank’s second quarter earnings call.
“You can’t do that sitting at home by yourself, there’s a limit to Zoom technology,” Gorman added, asked whether he will allow employees to work from home.
Morgan Stanley’s hard-charging chief executive — who last month told employees, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office” — has told staff if they don’t return to the office by Labor Day, they could face a pay cut.
Gorman also earlier slammed Zoom in an effort to encourage face-to-face meetings with clients, as The Post previously reported.
But Morgan Stanley’s top boss also seemed to soften his stance slightly on last week’s call. He explained while he expected most people to work in the office, he would also allow employees flexibility moving forward.
“For some people the flexibility makes great sense,” Gorman said. “When they have health issues or are looking out for family members for a few months we can manage that.”