Ogletree Attys Snag Hours-Based Bonuses Of $10K And Up

By Hailey Konnath
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Law360 (July 29, 2020, 8:45 PM EDT) -- Labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC is offering special bonuses starting at $10,000 to reward non-partner attorneys for working more hours during the pandemic, the firm confirmed Wednesday.

In April, the 800-plus-attorney firm reduced hours for some employees and a few other workers went on temporary unpaid leave as it grappled with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ogletree also eventually slashed pay for its equity partners, associates and some higher-paid staff members.

Ogletree internally announced a new series of bonuses Tuesday, according to a statement from the firm. Specifically, all associates who bill at least 1,700 hours in 2020 will receive a $10,000 bonus. On top of that, associates who bill at least 1,900 hours will receive another $10,000 bonus, and those that exceed 2,000 hours will qualify for a bonus based on a percentage, up to 25%, of their pre-pandemic salary, the firm said.

Meanwhile, all counsel and of counsel lawyers who meet their expected hours for 2020 will receive a special $10,000 bonus. This is in addition to existing bonuses available to these individuals, Ogletree said.

Immigration associates and of counsel don't bill hours, but they'll get special bonuses based on the revenues they generate, according to Ogletree.

Ryan King, an Ogletree spokesperson, said in the statement that "[w]hile the economics of this year are still very much to be determined, the firm believes it is appropriate to recognize and reward our attorneys."

The bonuses are intended to "reward associates, of counsel and counsel that are providing outstanding service to our clients during these challenging times," King said.

A few firms have begun winding down COVID-19 cost-saving measures, most of which were instituted in March, April and May. On Wednesday, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP said it would be rewinding attorney and staff pay reductions, while Baker Botts said that it would decrease its salary reductions by half.

On July 15, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said it was reducing previously announced pay cuts that impacted all employees of the firm earning more than $40,000 from 15% to 7.5%, while at the same time announcing it would lay off a "very small proportion" of its workforce. And Lowenstein Sandler and Cozen O'Connor have also resumed partner distributions after freezing them early on in the pandemic. 

--Additional reporting by Xiumei Dong, Hannah Albarazi and Aebra Coe. Editing by Emily Kokoll.

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