Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) today announced the adoption of a permanent dynamic working policy that allows lawyers to work in a combination of onsite (work from office) and offsite (work from home/WFA) modes of work..With law firms across the globe increasingly moving towards the reality of establishing a remote working system, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has become the first law firm in India to have taken this path breaking decision to change the way the lawyers will work in the future.Internationally, Linklaters has allowed lawyers to work remotely for up to 20-50% of their time as part of a new long-term global policy, whereas lawyers at Herbert Smith Freehills will be allowed to work remotely for 40 per cent of their time. DLA Piper has allowed 2 days of work from home a week..To get a better idea of how the new policy will work at CAM, Bar & Bench caught up with Managing Partner Cyril Shroff in an exclusive interview to delve deeper into the thought process behind this game-changing decision..Why did you embark on this journey of change?.The change is inevitable. It is the future of work and we need to be future-ready. After deep study, extensive consultations and the remote working pilot that we have successfully run over the course of the pandemic, we have data, experience and trust that a dynamic working policy is the way ahead. This is talent friendly, promotes diversity, and caters to the millennial mindset. It will allow us to forge new paths with talent and increase our client reach. Having steadily invested in technology over the years, our decision to embark on a complete digital transformation of our ways of working was made easier, and we recognise that the time for this idea has come..What are the features of your Dynamic Working Policy?.We have 5 models under our Dynamic Working Policy. The first is the traditional work from office (WFO) model. The second is a Hybrid Work Model which is a combination of work from home (WFH) and WFO, subject to team and client requirements. This is expected to be the most popular model.The third option is a short term work from anywhere (WFA) model, for up to 6 months, which is available to our talent in case of personal need once in five years.The fourth is a permanent WFA Model for talent in remote locations on a long term basis (i.e. where we don’t have an office). The fifth option is introducing in India, a ‘Flexi Lawyer’ Model, of short term arrangements with lawyers based on client and firm need for expertise from time to time..How did you arrive at these 5 models?.At the heart of this exercise was our ‘ahead of the curve’ mindset and extensive consultation with stakeholders. We framed the models on a combination of being trust-based and client focussed, and built on discipline and professionalism. We were guided by our data, inputs from external experts, and global and academic research. But we finally adopted a policy that is bespoke and meets the preferences of our talent and the needs of our clients. Our litmus test was to ensure that the new policy is aligned with our culture, values, and purpose. Equity and fairness were also core to this process, including ensuring equitable treatment for equitable outcomes..When will you formally adopt this new working policy?.In light of the ongoing pandemic, we expect to continue the current work from home arrangement till March 31, 2021. The new permanent dynamic working policy will become effective in due course thereafter. We will use the time in the interim to internalize the new mindset, upgrade our skills, identify new ways of tacit and active collaboration amongst our teams, engage, and innovate.Lawyers in our Hyderabad and Chennai offices will move to the Long Term WFA model from January 1, 2021..What transformative tools has CAM adopted to drive this digital metamorphosis?.We recognise that this is a commitment for permanent change and that each of us will have to re-imagine our ways of working. It is not just moving from co-location in an office to a virtual co-location format. It is a fundamental reset of how we will work to deliver the best service for our clients in the new normal. We will use a combination of software, hardware, and behaviour to effect our transformation. This will include a restatement of our policies and frameworks to suit our digital workplace. We will also adopt world class technological solutions to enable a paperless environment that is suited to our practice and supports the confidentiality and cyber security protocols that are critical. We will enable optimal utilisation of our physical space, by means including evolving our own version of ‘hot-desking’.At the core of our transformation though, is our people. We are committed to help each other in navigating the change and facilitating the re-skilling of our talent to be future ready. We are working on interactive training programs, facilitating ‘home office’ set ups by our lawyers, re-imagining the drivers of culture and wellness, and prioritising empathy amongst our people. We are also spending a lot of time to innovate for connectedness and mental health balance in our new way of working.