Womble Bond Is Latest Firm To Downsize Amid COVID-19

By Emma Cueto
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Law360 (March 30, 2020, 6:33 PM EDT) -- Womble Bond Dickinson’s U.S. branch has decided to lay off some employees and institute pay reductions in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the firm confirmed to Law360 on Monday, a week after two other firms announced they would be taking similar measures.

The firm said it made the “hard decision” to furlough certain employees and let others go. Remaining staff and attorneys will see their pay cut by up to 10%, according to the firm, though those with lower levels of compensation will see smaller reductions.

“In response to the economic disruption brought on by the novel coronavirus, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) chose to make certain adjustments to its business during this difficult time,” the firm said in a statement. “Decisions like these are never easy, but we believe taking these steps now will curb the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our firm strong and well-positioned to continue serving our clients at the highest level.”

Womble Bond, which was formed in 2017 as a merger between a U.S. and U.K. firm, has 19 United States offices with almost 600 attorneys between them, according to the firm website.

The firm is not the first to make cuts in response to the pandemic and the economic upheaval it has caused. Buffalo, New York-based Goldberg Segalla LLP made the decision last week to reduce its workforce, eliminating positions it said would not be necessary in the current environment. Another New York firm, Belkin Burden Goldman LLP, also announced it would be making “adjustments to support staffing” in order to operate more efficiently, but that it has not laid off any attorneys.

In the United States, more than 140,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 2,000 deaths have been confirmed since the virus first reached the U.S. in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cities and states around the country have taken various measures to contain the spread of the disease, including by closing nonessential businesses and asking courts to stop all nonessential work.

--Editing by Alanna Weissman.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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