Schiff Hardin First-Years' Start Date Delayed To Summer 2021

By Sarah Martinson
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Law360 (November 19, 2020, 1:52 PM EST) -- Some Schiff Hardin first-year associates will have to wait until the summer of 2021 to start thanks to a precautionary measure the firm has implemented to manage the uncertain tides of the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm confirmed Thursday.

Schiff Hardin said Thursday that the start date for some of its first-year associates will be delayed until the summer of 2021. (Annie Pancak | Law360)

A Schiff Hardin spokesperson said 10 first-year associates are joining the firm in 2021, with five being onboarded in January and five in June. The five whose start dates have been delayed will receive a stipend from the firm, according to the spokesperson.

"This decision, while not made lightly, continues to be part of managing our business prudently through the pandemic," the spokesperson said, adding that starting Jan. 1, the firm will end all pay cuts stemming from the pandemic.

Schiff Hardin's decision comes as positive COVID-19 cases increase across the U.S., including in Illinois, where the firm is based. According to the University of Virginia's coronavirus case tracker, the positivity rate in Illinois is 6.48%.

In April, the firm cut the salary of all staff making more than $100,000 by 15% and slashed pay by up to 50% for 6% of its attorneys. The firm also laid off a portion of staff and canceled its summer associate program.

Earlier this week, the firm said it had reversed the pay cuts it instituted in April in anticipation of a pandemic-related downturn and had paid employees back for lost income.

"Given our stronger-than-expected financial performance, combined with the austerity measures previously implemented across the firm, we were able to make everyone whole for 2020 and restore full salaries for next year," a Schiff Hardin spokesperson said Thursday.

Schiff Hardin is one of more than 170 large law firms that received a federal loan from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program designed to help businesses weather the uncertainty of the novel coronavirus.

--Additional reporting by Emily Lever, Emma Cueto and Xiumei Dong. Editing by Marygrace Murphy.

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