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

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

CEO Joseph Dougherty said in a statement that Buchanan has temporarily adjusted compensation across all levels and furloughed “a very limited number of administrative staff” with plans to bring them back “when the pandemic subsides.”

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Cadwalader said in a March 31 firm memo that it would stop paying partners[14], cut associate salaries by 25% and impose pay cuts of 10% to 25% on its staff in response to the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the economy.

In a July 29 firm memo[15], managing partner Patrick Quinn said, effective Aug. 1, the firm planned to reverse the 25% and 10% compensation reductions for associates, special counsel, counsel, senior attorneys, staff attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff going forward. “The return to full compensation levels will begin with your first August paycheck,” he wrote. The firm confirmed that partner distributions will also return to normal.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel

The New York firm said April 7 it was suspending its summer associate[16] program but will offer jobs upon graduation in 2021 to would-be participants and still pay the 30 summer associates “in full for the summer.” Cahill’s statement said it would give the class a chance to assist remotely with the firm’s pro bono work over the summer, and if risks abate enough to make in-person work possible, it would “find appropriate ways” to resume the program for “some portion of the summer.”

Clark Hill

Clark Hill, based in Detroit, has instituted cost-saving measures[17] including a pay reduction for attorneys and staff, a freeze on discretionary spending and a revision of certain benefits, according to a statement provided April 2 by the firm. The firm also furloughed some employees.

“We hope that this will be a temporary measure, and anticipate that as we emerge from this period of global health and economic crisis, we will be able to revisit these difficult decisions,” a spokesperson said in the statement.

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