Holland & Hart Latest To Restore COVID-19 Pay Cuts

By Xiumei Dong
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Law360 (September 8, 2020, 8:42 PM EDT) -- Holland & Hart LLP announced Tuesday that it is reversing pay cuts and other austerity measures it instituted earlier this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including returning all employees' salaries and equity partners' third-quarter profit distribution to the full amount.

In addition to walking back pay cuts, Holland & Hart reinstated its employee match to 401(k) contributions this month. The Colorado-based firm added it had reserved a significant bonus pool to reward staff and lawyers "who contribute to the firm at a high level" at the end of the year, the firm said in a statement to Law360.

"Although the firm had one of its strongest financial years in 2019, and an equally robust start in the first quarter of this year, these measures were taken to protect our people and the short- and long-term business interests of the firm," according to the statement. "Compensation cutbacks, combined with significant expense-saving and expense deferral initiatives, allowed the firm to avoid any layoffs."

Holland & Hart confirmed its austerity measures with Law360 on June 23, saying it had taken steps at the beginning of June to reduce the paychecks of non-equity, salaried attorneys by 15% and decreased employees' salaries at a scaled percentage level based on their compensation, while those making less than $60,000 did not see a cut.

The firm ended its salary reductions at the beginning of September. Holland & Hart is among the latest law firms to reverse pay cuts, citing "strong financial performance." On Friday, Hogan Lovells confirmed that it will reverse pay cuts instituted in June for associates and other employees.

In its statement, Hogan Lovells' CEO Miguel Zaldivar said the firm will reverse pay cuts of about 10% that began on June 1 in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil for certain associates, counsel, specialists and knowledge lawyers, citing a "solid performance" over the summer.

Holland & Hart and Hogan Lovells both said that they have not cut staff or introduced any layoffs, setting it apart from other firms in recent days that have announced rollbacks to previous financial cuts while simultaneously instituting layoffs.

Baker McKenzie said last Tuesday that it planned to reverse pandemic-related pay cuts in the new year, while also announcing that it was trimming its North American workforce — both lawyers and staff.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP similarly said last Tuesday that it plans to restore its previous pay reductions by half and will lay off some staff.

Nixon Peabody LLP on Thursday confirmed it would reverse the 20% cuts in schedules and compensation for many of the firm's staff, while also laying off some previously furloughed staff. And Troutman Pepper told employees on Friday that effective Sept. 1, all coronavirus-related pay cuts would end, with the hope that workers would be compensated before the end of the year for the money they had missed out on, according to a report in Above the Law.

--Additional reporting by Kevin Penton. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

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