Troutman To Cut Pay Ahead Of Pepper Hamilton Tie-Up

By Aebra Coe
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Law360 (May 22, 2020, 5:36 PM EDT) -- Ahead of its planned merger with Pepper Hamilton LLP in July, Troutman Sanders announced Friday that it will implement compensation reductions for attorneys and staff beginning June 1 that will continue for an unspecified period of time.

The pay cuts for attorneys and staff at Troutman Sanders LLP will range from 2% to 18.5% on an annualized basis, depending on how many months the reductions last, according to the firm, which said the length of time will be based on the overall global economy and firm performance.

"Troutman Sanders is in a strong financial position, with record financial performance through year-to-date 2020," the firm said in a statement Friday. "The extent of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on our clients, and therefore on our business, remains impossible to predict. Like many law firms, we have adopted a series of cost-saving and cash-management measures that will enable us to prepare for the remainder of 2020."

The firm confirmed that it is continuing to work toward a combination with Pepper Hamilton, which is expected to be complete on July 1.

Both Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton released statements Friday saying they were delaying the start date for their first-year associates to January 2021.

Troutman Sanders previously announced a voluntary leave of absence program for staff and the suspension of its summer associate program.

On May 8, Pepper Hamilton confirmed that nonpartner attorneys would see their annual salary reduced 12% for 2020 and that staff making $60,000 or more would see annualized cuts between 3% and 9%, depending on salary. Partner distributions at the firm were also reduced by an unspecified amount.

The pay cuts announced Friday come amid a string of cost-cutting measures put in place by large law firms aimed at addressing the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including not only reductions in pay, but also layoffs.

On May 19, Dorsey & Whitney LLP said it was implementing a reduction of its workforce by laying off a "limited number" of employees and cutting pay for nonpartner attorneys and staff by between 10% and 20% beginning in June, to continue through the end of the year.

Staff members earning less than $150,000 a year in base compensation will not be affected by the pay cuts, the firm said.

--Additional reporting by Natalie Rodriguez. Editing by Alyssa Miller.

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