Squire Patton Boggs' Manchester office was evacuated after two separate outbreaks of Covid this week.
Both incidents involved SPB lawyers who were tested over the weekend and then received positive results while they were in the office on Monday.
"Neither individual experienced symptoms while in the office", emphasised a spokesperson for SPB, adding that the lawyers have not returned to the office while they self-isolate.
The results let to the immediate closure of the office on Monday "out of an abundance of caution" and a deep clean. It re-opened on Wednesday.
A source claimed SPB has been "trying to get us back into the office full time" while "only paying us 80% of our salary".
But, said a spokesperson, the office "remains, as it was previously, at limited capacity", with any employees who visit the office "doing so on a managed, voluntary basis and in accordance with the health and safety protocols put in place by the firm".
He confirmed that staff were still “contractually obliged to work 80% of the time", but said the firm would be rolling back the pay cuts for associates in October.
One of the lawyers was in the corporate team, RollOnFriday understands, and when the positive result came in the whole team was sent home in the middle of trying to complete a deal for a client.
An insider claimed the associates "had to rely on another law firm", DLA Piper, "to help run the rest of the deal for them", which "meant a couple of all nighters for the DLAP bods". Clearly the Blitz Spirit is alive and well, brings a tear to the eye so it does.
The requirement to immediately close an office highlights the difficulty firms will have as they seek to get some use out of their pricey premises while also dealing with the risk of business disruption and the right of staff to insist on working in safety. Top tip: make party animals WFH.