Schiff Hardin Eyes Salary Cuts Of Up To 50% Over COVID-19

By Xiumei Dong
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Law360 (April 16, 2020, 1:54 PM EDT) -- A small group of attorneys at Schiff Hardin LLP will have their salaries reduced by up to 50%, the firm announced Thursday as it rolls out a series of cost-cutting measures to help it withstand the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Schiff Hardin said Thursday that it's cutting pay for most attorneys and certain staff members, as well as laying off a small group of staff. (Annie Pancak | Law360)

The firm is implementing pay cuts for most of its attorneys, while about 6% of them will see a 50% salary reduction based on "anticipated demand," Schiff Hardin Chief Marketing Officer Jill Himelfarb said in a statement to Law360.

Additionally, the Chicago-based firm will implement up to a 15% salary reduction for all staff making more than $100,000 a year while also laying off a small group of staff, according to Himelfarb, who declined to provide more details.

Schiff Hardin has also canceled this year's summer program. Himelfarb said the firm has extended offers to the five second-year students after graduation, and the start of its 2020 associate class has been deferred to January 2021.

"These are challenging times for our attorneys and staff and we are asking everyone in the firm to make sacrifices and share the burden," Himelfarb said in the statement.

"We believe this is the right approach for our firm and will allow us to continue to provide quality service to our clients and ensure the strength of the law firm going forward as we weather this health and economic crisis," she added.

Schiff Hardin joins a long list of firms reported taking cost-cutting measures over the past few weeks to weather the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even legal giant Baker McKenzie is on the list as the firm announced Monday that it is cutting salaries for lawyers and staff in the United States and Canada. Several more BigLaw firms, including Crowell & Moring LLP and Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, have followed. Both firms said Wednesday that they will reduce pay or staff hours to keep layoffs at bay.

On Friday, Goodwin Procter LLP said it was trimming its global operations team while Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC said it will cut all employees' salaries.

--Additional reporting by Hannah Albarazi. Editing by Orlando Lorenzo.

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