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

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr

In an April 30 statement, the firm said it reduced partner draws and took other austerity measures including: salary reductions for people making more than $50,000 per year; temporary furloughs; and layoffs. A spokesperson for the firm declined to clarify the amount of the salary reductions or the extent of furloughs and layoffs.

Scahill Law Group

This midsize insurance defense firm with its main office on Long Island has furloughed 50 people, its managing partner said in an interview.[62]

Schiff Hardin

The firm said[63] it is cutting salaries for both attorneys and staff, including reductions of up to 50% in compensation that will affect about 6% of the Chicago-based firm’s attorneys. Most of Schiff Hardin’s lawyers and staffers who make more than $100,000 will see their salaries temporarily cut by 15%; the potential 50% pay cuts some lawyers might receive will be based on “anticipated demand.

Seyfarth Shaw

The firm on April 17[64] announced it was reducing equity partner draws, cutting salaries and furloughing 10% of its U.S. workforce. Starting May 1, all of Seyfarth’s non-equity lawyers in the U.S. will see their pay reduced by 10%. The firm is cutting salaries for staffers—the first $60,000 won’t be affected, but earnings between $60,000 and $150,000 will be cut by 5%. Anything a staffer makes past $150,000 will be cut by 10%. Equity partners, meanwhile, have seen their monthly draws reduced by 20% starting April 1. The 1,900-person firm is also furloughing 10% of its U.S. workforce for 90 days, but Seyfarth will pick up the tab for that group’s health coverage. The furloughs will affect staff and a “smaller percent of attorneys.”

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman is offering all its global staff and fee-earners sabbaticals on reduced pay. The voluntary leave program[65] will allow participants to take up between three and six months off work at 30% pay, the firm confirmed, but that will be increased to 40% if they engage in pro bono work during their voluntary leave.

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