Pay Cuts, Layoffs, and More: How Law Firms Are Managing the Pandemic

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

The firm—the product of a Feb. 1 merger between Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia’s Drinker Biddle & Reath—said April 14[23] that it had deferred its equity partner distributions by one-third for the second quarter in an effort to be “prudent and conservative” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement May 13, the firm also implemented a temporary pay reduction of 15% for all other lawyers, which it announced in mid-April and which took effect May 1. Pay for professional consultants and staff has also been reduced on a graduated schedule for those making $50,000 or more annually maxing out at a 15% cut. The firm also said it furloughed about 1.5% of its personnel, many of whom have office-based responsibilities. Those employees will continue to receive their benefits.

The firm has also made some layoffs, which it attributed to redundancies created in the Feb. 1 merger. The eliminated staff positions represent 1.5% of total head count, and those affected were provided with severance packages, the firm said.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner

The firm announced[24] pay cuts on May 14 for lawyers and staff that will take effect June 1. “Share partners will shoulder much of the resulting financial effects,” a firm statement said.  All other lawyers and staff earning $75,000 or more will have pay reduced by 10% to 20%. Specifically, Finnegan is making 20% salary cuts for those earning $150,000 or more, 15% salary cuts for those earning between $100,000 and $150,000, and 10% salary cuts for those earning $75,000 to $100,000. Those earning under $75,000 will not see reductions in pay, according to the firm’s statement.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson

The firm is offering voluntary buyouts for staff. It’s still not engaging in any mandatory measures, and attorneys are untouched, a spokeswoman said in June.[25] But staffers will be able to avail themselves of buyouts. Those who opt in will receive one week of salary for every year of service at the firm, capped at 24 weeks, plus $1,000 for each year.

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