Squire Patton Boggs Cuts Pay For Attorneys, Staff

By Aebra Coe
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Law360 (May 1, 2020, 12:16 PM EDT) -- Squire Patton Boggs is instituting an array of cost-cutting measures in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, reducing associate pay by 20%, adjusting partner pay, and cutting pay for some staff while furloughing others, according to a Friday announcement.

Partners will "appropriately carry the largest financial burden" through adjusted profit distributions of an undisclosed amount, according to the announcement shared with Law360. The adjustments pertain to attorneys and staff across the law firm's global offices.

"The global pandemic has created distress for companies around the world and will continue to for some time," a firm statement said. "As responsible stewards of the firm and consistent with measures taken by other law firms, it is necessary to take prudent steps to assure the firm's success and prevent job loss over the long term."

The 20% reduction in salary for associates pertains to all seniority levels and offices, in accordance with local law requirements, the firm said.

Global support staff will see their pay reduced by 10% to 20%, with those in the highest-earning positions taking a larger reduction, it said. Additionally, the firm will furlough some staff who "are currently underutilized or are not able to perform their job remotely."

Dickinson Wright PLLC also revealed some cost-cutting measures on Friday, releasing a statement announcing that beginning May 1 it will temporarily reduce pay from between 0% and 15% for nonpartner attorneys and staff, reduce and potentially delay partner distributions, and delay raises and bonuses to the year's end.

"We anticipate that these measures will minimize or avoid additional economic layoffs and pay reductions. None of the decisions comes easy, but we are making prudent choices as needed to navigate this crisis," the firm's statement said.

Global law firm DAC Beachcroft LLP also announced cuts on Friday. According to the firm, the majority of recent partner profit distributions have been held back and future distributions have been suspended.

Some lawyers, including partners, have been asked to temporarily reduce their working hours and pay by 20%, the firm said. And, some support staff will be furloughed.

Additionally, the law firm's bonuses will be paid in two parts rather than one and annual salary reviews, which were scheduled for August, will be delayed until later in the year, it said.

"Our business is strong and resilient and has adapted well, given the circumstances, and this is down to the outstanding commitment of all our people," DAC Beachcroft managing partner David Pollitt said. "The steps we are taking will protect our business and ensure we can provide a sustainable future for both our colleagues and our clients."

U.K.-based law firms Irwin Mitchell and Weightmans LLP confirmed Friday that they had implemented cost-cutting measures related to the pandemic. At Irwin Mitchell, a "small number" of employees have been furloughed or are taking on reduced hours due to smaller workloads or personal circumstances. Additionally, the firm's executive board has taken a 10% pay cut until the end of May, and its partners were asked to voluntarily do the same.

A spokeswoman for Weightmans said that partner compensation has been reduced and the firm is conducting a consultation to determine how it will reduce staff pay.

The news comes on the heels of a slew of similar cost-cutting measures taken by large law firms.

On Thursday, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP confirmed staff furloughs and pay cuts.

Earlier this week, Littler Mendelson PC and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP also announced similar cuts to weather the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cozen O'Connor confirmed to Law360 on Friday that on April 1 it furloughed approximately 2.5% of its staff who are unable to work remotely and has delayed a portion of partner compensation until later this year.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP confirmed Friday that on April 6 it announced that it was furloughing approximately 4% of its staff members and was reducing its 2020 employer contribution to its 401(k) plan by 33%.

--Editing by Katherine Rautenberg.

Update: This story has been updated to include additional news about law firm cost-cutting measures.

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

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