Reed Smith Implements Hiring Freeze For Professional Staff

By Emma Cueto
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Law360 (June 8, 2020, 6:57 PM EDT) -- Reed Smith LLP has instituted a global hiring freeze on all professional staff through the end of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm confirmed Monday.

The firm, which operates more than 30 offices in North America, Europe and Asia, said the hiring freeze applies only to professional staff; there is no freeze for attorneys.

"Like the other management actions we have taken since the emergence of COVID-19, this is to ensure our business emerges from the pandemic in a position of strength," a firm spokesperson said in an email Monday.

"There is currently no freeze on the hiring of lawyers and partners as we want to ensure that we have the right talent within the firm to respond to the evolving needs of our clients as the global economy begins to recover," the spokesperson said. "We remain open to seizing the best opportunities to enhance our offering."

Like many firms, Reed Smith has previously taken other cost-cutting measures in response to the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. Over the course of March and April, the firm deferred certain partner distributions and bonuses, deferred merit pay decisions and bonuses for professional staff, and cut attorney pay. The pay cuts were initially planned to last four months, but the firm later announced that attorney pay would be reduced by 12% to 14% through the end of the year.

The firm also shortened its summer associate program and pushed the start date for its incoming associates to January 2021, though it said the new associates would receive stipends and health insurance starting in September.

These measures are similar to steps taken by other large firms, with dozens cutting pay and reducing partner draws amid the economic downturn.

At least two other firms, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and Stoel Rives LLP, have also announced hiring freezes.

--Editing by Janice Carter Brown.

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