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

Baker & Hostetler

The firm said May 7 [8]that it is cutting compensation for lawyers and staff. Partners will see annual compensation cut by 15% to 20%, while associates and staff will see 10% cuts. The adjustments may remain in place for the duration of 2020. The firm added that it is not laying off any employees. The firm’s employees will not see their base compensation drop below a floor of $70,000 or $80,000, depending on the market. Administrative assistants and staff will also be given the option of working a reduced work schedule in lieu of the 10% salary cut. Additionally, the firm is cutting its summer associate program to four weeks, and will be holding it remotely. Compensation will be based on those four weeks that associates are employed by the firm.

Baker & McKenzie

Baker McKenzie said April 13[9] that it is reducing salaries for all non-partner attorneys, other timekeepers and business professionals by 15% in the United States. The salary reductions will not affect those earning less than $100,000, and no one will see their compensation reduced below that threshold. The firm said partners will also see cuts, though it did offer details other than to note that equity partners would see greater reductions than any others at the firm.

In Australia, Baker & McKenzie has so far made no cuts but instead has increased working flexibility for staff to help them manage their duties of caring for other members of their households, particularly for those with young children, given the closure of schools and day care centers and the demands of homeschooling. The voluntary options include the possibility of adjusted hours, reduced hours, and taking accrued carers or annual/long service leave.

Canadian attorneys, timekeepers and business professionals will see a 10% reduction in salary. The firm has one office in Toronto. Local policies and regulations prevent any reductions in Mexico, where the firm has five offices.

Ballard Spahr

The firm is cutting pay for staff and salaried lawyers by 10% for those making between $75,000 and $250,000 annually, and by 15% for those making more than $250,000 annually, according to a firm spokesperson. Partner draws are being reduced by 20% to 25%, the spokesperson said. Staff and lawyers making less than $75,000 will not have their pay cut.

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