Reed Smith, Loeb & Loeb Do Away With Pandemic Pay Cuts

By Aebra Coe
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Law360 (October 22, 2020, 5:49 PM EDT) -- Reed Smith LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP are the latest in a wave of BigLaw firms that have decided to end salary reductions instituted in the spring as the industry grappled with financial uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, according to Thursday announcements.

Following similar news from Blank Rome LLP and Fox Rothschild LLP, Reed Smith global managing partner Sandy Thomas released a statement Thursday saying the firm's austerity measures implemented in the spring, which had already been partially walked back, will be fully reversed as of Nov. 1.

"Throughout the pandemic, the firm has been dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our people and supporting our clients around the globe," Thomas said in the statement. "Because of the incredibly hard work, shared sacrifice and commitment of our people, we are pleased to announce that we are fully restoring compensation to the 100% level for all of our lawyers and professional staff."

Also on Thursday, Kenneth Florin, the chairman of Los Angeles-based law firm Loeb & Loeb, notified the firm by email that it too is eliminating all remaining salary reductions for its attorneys, paralegals and staff, including reductions in monthly draws for capital partners. All of the reversals will be retroactive to Oct. 1, Florin said in the email, which was obtained by Law360.

In April, the firm cut attorney and staff pay by up to 20%, a move Loeb & Loeb said at the time was designed to stave off layoffs and furloughs as it braced for economic hardship. In September, those cuts were decreased by 60%.

On Oct. 1, Reed Smith reduced a 15% compensation cut for fixed share partners, counsel and associates to 5%. On Nov. 1 the remaining 5% cut for those attorneys will be fully eliminated and all monthly draws for equity partners will be restored, the firm said.

Additionally, a 5% monthly compensation reduction for professional staff earning more than $100,000 was eliminated and legal secretaries and other professional staff who had been reduced to 80% full-time equivalent status returned to 100% of their usual hours, the statement said.

Reed Smith, which operates more than 30 offices in North America, Europe and Asia, was the 12th largest law firm in the U.S. as of the end of 2019, with 1,243 attorneys and 469 partners in the U.S. The pay restorations apply to all of the firm's attorneys and staff across the globe.

After instituting a mandatory work-from-home policy in March to support the health and well-being of its employees, the firm announced in August that it would extend the policy to at least the rest of the year and into the first month of 2021.

According to a firm spokesperson, lawyers in some U.S. offices can request to work from an office, complying with strict guidelines, while some of the firm's offices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have partially let employees return to work when it is safe and appropriate.

--Additional reporting by Xiumei Dong and Hailey Konnath. Editing by Alanna Weissman.

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