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

Pepper Hamilton

The firm said it has reduced distributions to partners, and all other attorneys will see their salaries decreased by 12% on an annualized basis. Staff with salaries of $60,000 or more will see their salaries cut by 3% to 9%, on an annualized basis, based on a graduated scale. In a statement, the firm said it wants to avoid layoffs, and it is still planning to merge with Atlanta-based Am Law 100 firm Troutman Sanders on July 1, as previously announced.

On May 22, the firm announced that it will also defer the start date for new associates to January 2021, to “provide for a better work and training experience.” The firm plans to provide its entry-level associates with financial assistance to help with living expenses and costs associated with bar exam preparation, and they will be able to enroll in the firm’s health insurance plan.

Perkins Coie

The firm said[56] May 13 that it had delayed partner payouts starting in March. It also implemented 15% pay reductions going forward for non-partner lawyers and 10-15% pay reductions going forward for staff making over $125,000. The firm said at the end of this year it plans to allocate funds for special payments and bonuses to non-partner lawyers and staff, commensurate with performance.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Implementing a “shared sacrifice” approach to dealing with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, Pillsbury has temporarily reduced partner draws and associate, counsel and staff compensation. Beginning in April, partner draws were reduced by a minimum of 25%, with the percentage increasing on a progressive scale, so partners higher in the draw will see a larger cut. Compensation of associates and counsel was reduced by 20%. Staff in the U.S. making at least $75,000 will see a pay cut of 10% and those making more than $100,000 will get a pay cut of 15%. Chief officers will take a greater pay cut that is more in line with that of partners. The firm is considering similar actions for offices outside the U.S., a spokesman for the firm confirmed.

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