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A Peloton logo is seen on an exercise bike after the ringing of the opening bell for the company's IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

  • O'Melveny & Myers is first law firm to offer corporate Peloton perk
  • Employees will get free access to platform of online fitness classes

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(Reuters) - The Peloton at-home fitness craze has hit Big Law, and O’Melveny & Myers is leading the pack.

Beginning Oct. 6, all U.S. O'Melveny employees will have free access to Peloton’s digital platform for workouts and will receive discounts on the company’s all-access membership and stationary bikes — which have developed a large and devoted following in recent years. (One Peloton trainer — Cody Rigsby — was recently cast in Dancing with the Stars, and the bike has even made its way into the White House, where the Bidens are said to negotiate who gets to use it first in the morning.)

According to Peloton Interactive Inc, O’Melveny is the first law firm to sign up for its Corporate Wellness Program, which debuted in June and is now used by UnitedHealthcare, SAP and Samsung, among other companies.

Peloton is expanding into the corporate market at the same time that law firms are bolstering their mental health support and employee well-being offerings, spurred not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but also by research that shows attorneys suffer from higher rates of mental health and substance abuse issues than other professionals.

Firms have taken different approaches over the past year. Goodwin Procter gave associates a one-time $1,000 “wellbeing” payment to help cover their costs for remote work, be it take-out meals or new exercise equipment. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in March instituted an “unplugged week” policy that amounts to five extra vacation days. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati earlier this month unveiled a program under which attorneys can take an extra two weeks of paid vacation as a stress reliever.

Leaders at O’Melveny hope the new Peloton partnership will make it easier and more convenient for employees to get into healthy fitness routines. Firm employees will have access to thousands of live and on-demand classes ranging from yoga to strength training and meditation. They will get a discount on Peloton’s all-access membership, which is for users who have the company’s workout equipment, as well as discounts on its stationary bikes, which normally cost between $1,495 and $2,945.

(The firm declined to discuss the cost of the program, saying it has an agreement with Peloton to not disclose the financial details of the arrangement.)

The Peloton program is the latest addition to O’Melveny’s “living well” program, which launched in 2019, said chief operating officer George Demos, himself a Peloton devotee.

“We immediately saw (Peloton’s Corporate Wellness Program) as an opportunity to address not only physical health, but also the emotional and mental components of wellbeing,” Demos said in an interview Tuesday. “Becoming a corporate member gave us the opportunity to really build further community within the firm and have fun with it along the way.”

O’Melveny chairman Bradley Butwin said early reaction to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. Working out on a Peloton bike helped his family of seven weather the worst of the pandemic, he said.

“It’s a great workout,” Butwin said. “And then there is just the fun part, where it’s interactive. You bond with your instructors.”

Jennie Fagen Malloy, founder of workplace wellness firm Lights Camera Kale, said Tuesday that she welcomes the move by law firms to invest in employee wellness, and that programs like O’Melveny’s Peloton partnership can make fitness more accessible to busy legal professionals. But those programs won’t alleviate the underlying cause of attorney stress, which is often excessive workloads, she noted.

“I do believe this only scratches the surface of one of the bigger issues: the unrealistically high expectations set by the billable hour system,” Malloy wrote in an email. “Implementing policies that enable work-life balance will lead to greater change and make amazing tools like Peloton that much more impactful.”

Read more:

Orrick unplugged: Firm mandates all employees to take 40 hours of tech-free leave

Wilson Sonsini offers an extra paid two weeks off

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