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Federal Prosecutors Seek Flexible, Agencywide Remote Work Policy From DOJ

February 11, 2022 by Dan McCue
<strong>Federal Prosecutors Seek Flexible, Agencywide Remote Work Policy From DOJ</strong>
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON — As public and private employers grapple with the future of work in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a group representing federal prosecutors wants the Justice Department to allow for telework and remote work at least two days a week on a permanent basis.

The group, the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, made its recommendation in a letter written to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

In it, the association acknowledges the department itself has encouraged “maximum telework” during the pandemic, but says the suggested policy has been unevenly applied, with some U.S. Attorneys Offices providing considerably more flexibility when it comes to telework, and others providing none.

“Based on feedback from our AUSA members collected this fall, the patchwork of telework flexibility policies results in dramatically different and sometimes arbitrary access to work-life benefits based on individual U.S. attorney preferences,” the association wrote.


The letter goes on to say a number of association members have raised health and wellbeing concerns, particularly those who work in offices where telework flexibilities were revoked without “ensuring adequate safety measures were in place to protect employee health.”

The letter, over the signature of association president Steven Wasserman, goes on to suggest that having a patchwork approach to telework is a detriment to employee recruitment and is incompatible with the current best practices of the legal profession.

Simply put, the association says, a Justice Department holding onto such an approach to telework will struggle to recruit and retain top talent in an environment where the top and best-paying law firms have shifted to more flexible work arrangements.


“As big law offices acknowledge, the next generation of attorneys care deeply about workplace flexibility, and partial telework policies serve as a valuable recruitment tool in the hottest talent market the legal industry has seen in decades,” the letter said.

“U.S. Attorney Offices are struggling to attract and retain top talent, instead often serving as a training ground for more lucrative private sector careers,” the association continued. “Enhancing telework flexibility across USAOs is a simple yet effective way to improve the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel from the incoming generation, as well as retaining experienced prosecutors who can handle increasingly complex cases.”

In addition to the letter, the association sent Deputy AG Monaco a copy of a member survey it conducted last fall in which 71% of respondents said they currently had an unlimited ability to telework, and 90% said that two days of telework would both increase their job satisfaction and improve work-life balance. 

It also cited an independent Bloomberg survey that found 74% of the 100 largest firms in the U.S. by gross revenue plan to allow some form of outside-the-office work in their post-pandemic plans.

The Justice Department said in a statement that it is still in the process of finalizing its return-to-work plans. 


“We are affording our components broad discretion to determine strategies — including flexible telework and remote work policies — that work best for them to fully achieve their mission goals while retaining and attracting a high-caliber workforce,” the statement said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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