Mayer Brown, Norton Rose Latest To End COVID-19 Cuts

By Emma Cueto
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Law360 (September 14, 2020, 6:09 PM EDT) -- Mayer Brown LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright's U.S. offices will end pay reductions for both lawyers and staff by the end of the month, the firms have confirmed to Law360.

Mayer Brown confirmed Monday that it will fully restore base salaries to pre-COVID-19 levels Sept. 21, and will award "competitive" bonuses this year as well. The firm added that in an effort to address the months of salary reduction, the firm will also award an additional discretionary bonus this year to high-performing income partners, of counsel and associates.

The firm in May reduced base salaries by 15% for attorneys and staff earning more than $200,000 a year, with smaller cuts for those under the $200,000 benchmark, cuts that are in line with other austerity measures seen in the industry.

Norton Rose also confirmed that it will bring its salaries back to the pre-COVID baseline. In a statement by U.S. managing partner Jeff Cody, the firm said that due to the firm's performance in August, it plans to end its cuts Sept. 30.

"These reductions were made in response to the pandemic, as our goal has always been to take care of our people while maintaining the firm's health," the firm said. "We appreciate the ongoing commitment and loyalty of our people during these unprecedented times."

The firms are among the latest to roll back austerity measures put into place earlier this year, when many firms cut both salaries and staff due to the pandemic and associated economic upheaval. Since late July, many firms have either reduced those cuts or done away with them entirely.

Last Tuesday, Holland & Hart LLP confirmed it had returned all employees' salaries and equity partners' third quarter profit distributions to the full amount. It also reinstated its employee match to 401(k) contributions this month.

On Wednesday, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC confirmed it had eliminated all salary reductions at the beginning of September, while Eversheds Sutherland confirmed the firm's U.S. branch is restoring half the 10% compensation cut it instituted in early May in response to the pandemic.

On Friday, Dentons confirmed that it would be partially rolling back its pay cuts and offering older business professionals and paralegals in the U.S. who have been with the firm at least 15 years the chance to retire early.

--Additional reporting by Kevin Penton, Xiumei Dong and Hailey Konnath. Editing by Stephen Berg.

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