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Law360 (December 2, 2020, 5:01 PM EST) -- Some big names in BigLaw secured $10 million in forgivable loans from the federal government under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to new data released by the Small Business Administration, including Boies Schiller & Flexner and Thompson & Knight.
After releasing less-detailed information on PPP loan recipients in July, the SBA provided precise data on how the loans were distributed late Tuesday. Of the 11 law firms that the administration said received the statutory maximum of $10 million, nine are among the 200 largest law firms in the U.S. by headcount, according to the Law360 400.
Those nine law firms are Maynard Cooper & Gale PC, Day Pitney LLP, Cole Scott & Kissane PA, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, GrayRobinson, Robins Kaplan LLP, Fredrikson & Byron PA, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP and Thompson & Knight LLP.
As a key part of the $2 trillion COVID-19 pandemic relief bill, the Paycheck Protection Program provided loans of up to $10 million for small businesses, generally defined as firms with 500 employees or less, to help them recover from the government-ordered shutdowns and revenue losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The loans are forgivable as long as they are used primarily to pay employees and for other business operating expenses such as rent and utilities.
In all, more than 14,000 law firms in the U.S. received assistance through the program, according to the data released Tuesday.
Of the nine large law firms that received $10 million in PPP funds, Cole Scott and Fredrikson & Byron declined to comment, and four others did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Robins Kaplan Chair Ronald Schutz told Law360 that when COVID-19 hit this spring, law firms faced "huge economic uncertainties and many still do."
"The PPP loans were designed to help employers keep their employees on the payroll and that is exactly what we did with the funds. We have not laid off a single employee or cut any of their pay," Schutz said.
In a statement Wednesday, Thompson & Knight said it accessed "appropriate resources" available under the CARES Act to reduce the pandemic's impact on the firm.
A Kasowitz Benson spokesperson pointed to a statement the firm released in July, saying it still applies today.
"Because the pandemic shut down the New York courts and our offices for several months, the PPP funding made available by the federal government served its purpose by, together with substantial cost-saving measures and greatly reduced partner distributions, enabling us to preserve the jobs of our hundreds of employees at full salary and benefits without interruption," the statement said.
This spring, a large number of law firms reduced pay and some even conducted layoffs in response to the financial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Starting in July, many firms began to reverse those pay cuts and some have even provided attorneys with special fall bonuses in addition to the usual year-end bonuses.
A report by Citi Private Bank's law firm group out this week found that even though firms expected a drop in client demand during the pandemic, revenue growth in the first quarter of 2020 outperformed the first quarter of 2019 and billing grew 7.4% at the end of the third quarter of 2020.
The report is based on conversations with law firm leaders and firms' responses to 2020 Citi Private Bank surveys. More than 200 U.S.- and U.K.-based firms were surveyed, according to the report.
--Additional reporting by Emma Cueto, Xiumei Dong and Sarah Martinson. Editing by Marygrace Murphy.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the chair of Robins Kaplan. The error has been corrected.
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