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

Fisher & Phillips

The labor and employment firm has temporarily cut pay[26] for all lawyers and staff while furloughing some employees who can’t work remotely, said the firm’s chairman, Roger Quillen, in an April 10 interview. Quillen said that the Atlanta-headquartered firm proactively wants “to ensure solid financial footing for the firm throughout the COVID-19 crisis and the related economic fallout.”


The firm notified law students that it would cancel its summer associate program[27], because of the “uncertainty and challenges” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fox Rothschild

The Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm said a tiered salary reduction of 10% to 15% for all attorneys and staff will take effect in May, for those earning $100,000 or more annually. There will be no pay cuts for attorneys and staff who make less than that amount. Equity partners made a special capital contribution and are reducing their monthly draws in tiers, between 10% and 20%, also beginning in May.

Additionally, the firm said, the summer associate program will be shortened and first-year associates will begin employment in January 2021. The firm said it is not currently planning or undertaking any staff or lawyer layoffs or furloughs.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields has suspended its latest quarterly partner distribution. The firm will not pay any distribution to partners for the three months to April and is freezing pay for its lawyers as well as delaying a decision on what bonus levels will be. The firm’s bonus levels are usually decided in April but will now be reviewed in September. In addition, the firm is looking into flexible working arrangements and offering reduced hours for people who are interested. The measures are global but will differ depending on the region. The firm is trying to remain financially flexible so that it will not need to lay off or furlough staff.

Gilbert + Tobin

Gilbert + Tobin has cut back partner drawings by 50%.

Goldberg Segalla

Managing partner Richard Cohen said on March 23 that the firm made an unspecified number of layoffs[28], “largely … those whose responsibilities would be unessential or moot in the current work environment.” He said the firm has provided severance but said it hopes to rehire once the situation improves.

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