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

Goodwin Procter

The firm said in a statement April 10 that it recently reviewed the performance and size of its global operations team—its own term for professional staff. “As a result of our analysis, we made the difficult decision to ask a limited number of our global operations team members to leave the firm. We are providing severance packages, based on tenure, to impacted employees,” the firm said. It also noted that it will continue contributing to health care benefits for these employees through the end of September.

Additionally, Goodwin’s summer associate program will now be conducted remotely and consist of five paid weeks instead of the usual 10.

Greenspoon Marder

The Florida-based Am Law 200 firm confirmed April 15[29] that it laid off five attorneys and 40 staff members, and cut staff salaries across the board. Greenspoon co-founders Gerry Greenspoon and Michael Marder said in a statement that the cuts were preemptive measures taken to offset an expected loss of revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hogan Lovells

The firm is cutting compensation for all U.S. attorneys earning over $100,000 annually, the firm said on May 6[30]. The cuts, which go into effect on June 1, include reductions to equity partners’ monthly draws by 15% to 25%. Equity partners will also defer half of any profits from the first quarter, ordinarily paid in August, to December. Nonequity partners will see base compensation reduced by 15%, which would amount to an annual salary cut of 8.75% if the change stays in effect for the entire year. Most nonpartner attorneys at the firm, including all associates, will receive a 10% salary cut, akin to 6% over the full year, while the most highly compensated counsel and specialists will face 15% cuts, as will all senior counsel. Attorneys currently earning less than $100,000 will be unaffected.

Hogan Lovells announced April 16[31] that it will be reducing the length of its U.S. summer associate program from 10 weeks to four, though it will pay summers for eight weeks. The firm is also spreading partner distributions and bonuses initially scheduled for May over the coming months instead. Instead of distributing partner compensation based on the firm’s 2019 performance at the start of May, the firm will instead spread payments equally over each month depending on the amount owed to each partner.

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