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

“We made the hard decision to enact painful but necessary cost-cutting measures now in the hopes that it will put the firm on better footing when things improve,” chairman Mark Stewart said. “We hope to avoid layoffs and to remain as busy as we have been, guiding our clients through this turmoil and back to normalcy as soon as possible.”

Barclay Damon

The firm cut staff, attorney and partner pay, [10]ranging from at least a 25% cut in pay for equity partners to 15% pay cuts for staff and associates, to improve cash flow.

Blank Rome

Blank Rome furloughed some staff, but has not done the same with any lawyers, the firm confirmed April 3. Additionally, on April 7, the firm confirmed in a statement that “We are instituting a temporary 15% compensation reduction throughout the entire law firm to be shared equally by our partners, associates, counsel, professional staff and assistants, and have temporarily furloughed a small number of staff, along with other operational expense-reduction measures.”

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

The 1,400-lawyer trans-Atlantic firm, in the coming months, is deferring “portions of partner distributions as a first line of defense,” according to an April 8 statement[11] from the firm’s leaders. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is also seeking pay cuts by 15% “for all employees across all offices” for a 13-week period starting in May. Employees making less than $40,000 will not see a cut.

In June, the firm reduced the salaries[12] of its London-based newly-qualified lawyers by 2.5%. The firm also furloughed some of its paralegals and legal personal assistants.

On July 15, reported [13]that Bryan Cave planned to cut lawyer and staff positions across the firm while shutting its small Beijing base, which houses one partner and two associates. While the firm would not confirm the number of layoffs globally, 40 people in London, including 14 fee earners and 26 business services staff, were affected.  However, the pay cuts the firm implemented earlier in the year will be lowered to only 7.5%, but will last for the rest of the year.  The new pay cut will run from August until the end of 2020, according to a firm statement.

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