Husch Blackwell Pays Associate Bonuses Postponed By Virus

By Kevin Penton
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Law360 (August 27, 2020, 8:26 PM EDT) -- Husch Blackwell LLP has paid out a special associate performance bonus that it previously intended to postpone until 2021 as part of austerity measures related to the coronavirus pandemic, the firm confirmed Thursday.

The Kansas City, Missouri-based firm paid the bonuses earlier this month to its associates, who had not seen a cut in their pay as part of the austerity measures, Husch Blackwell spokesperson Steve Renau told Law360 on Thursday.

"We have been very fortunate thus far during the pandemic to maintain top-line revenue and productivity in line with our initial 2020 budget, and we are cautiously optimistic regarding the balance of the year," Renau said. "This has allowed us to focus on retaining our talent and investing in our future."

The firm anticipates that it will be on track for its next group of associates to begin work in January, he said.

Husch Blackwell announced in April that starting the following month, its fixed-income partners would get a 10% pay cut. The firm also said at the time that it had laid off and furloughed an unspecified number of attorneys and staff, transitioned some employees to early retirement and reduced salary and hours for others.

The moves built on earlier pay cuts taken by senior leadership at the 600-attorney firm. In March, the firm's equity partners cut their monthly draws by another 15% of base compensation, bringing up partner holdback to 35%. All of Husch Blackwell's managing directors and C-level executives also voluntarily took a 10% cut in salary.

Husch Blackwell in July launched its first virtual office with an initial group of 38 attorneys and 12 legal professionals working remotely indefinitely, with plans to expand the group both internally and with lateral hires living in cities where the firm does not have physical offices.

--Additional reporting by Natalie Rodriguez and Aebra Coe. Editing by Alanna Weissman.

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