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

Thompson Hine

The firm has aggressively decreased non-compensation expenses and is reducing quarterly partner draws by 15% and staff compensation by 1.7% on an annual basis, according to an April 14 email from a spokesperson.

Troutman Sanders

At Troutman Sanders, which announced cuts just before Memorial Day, pay reductions for lawyers and staff ranged from 2% to 18.5% on an annualized basis. The deepest cuts applied to equity partners. Troutman had also announced [70]in mid-April that it was offering some staff the option of a voluntary leave of absence, starting May 1.

Vedder Price

The firm has taken the following measures in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, according to a statement a spokesperson provided on May 5:  “We reduced our workforce by 4% in areas where utilization was most impacted by the remote work environment, and provided each affected person with severance plus healthcare coverage through September. The firm’s shareholders/owners also proactively reduced their current pay by 20% to bear the financial brunt of the crisis. Finally, we shortened the duration of our 2020 summer program and deferred the start date of our incoming 2020 first year associate class to January 2021.”


The firm said[71] in an April 10 statement it has postponed certain distributions to equity partners, implemented “tiered compensation reductions for attorneys and staff,” and temporarily furloughed certain staff in roles that primarily support office operations. “We have taken steps to tailor staffing needs to the current environment and prudently prepare the firm for the future,” the statement added.

Vinson & Elkins

The firm will delay the start of its 2020 summer associate program until June 15 at the earliest, because several offices are now under mandatory stay-at-home orders that will remain in effect through April and into May. “It is our hope and intention that the summer associate program will occur, albeit with some appropriate modifications in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” hiring partner Steve Gill wrote in a note sent to associates last week.

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