Am Law 100 Firm Slashes Salaries, Furloughs Lawyers And Staff

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With another day comes another law firm that’s put austerity measures in place to carry it through the economic upheaval that’s been brought about by the coronavirus crisis. From salary cuts to furloughs to layoffs, we’ve seen it all as the largest law firms in the country try to steer clear of being put out of business. Even firms that are very well ranked among the members of the Am Law 100 are doing what they can to cut costs.

We’ve learned that Katten Muchin — a firm that recently saw a 5.5 percent increase in revenue to $669,709,000 and a 10 percent increase in profits per partner to more than $1.8 million — will be putting its employees’ salaries on the chopping block while furloughing others.

As far as partners are concerned, Katten will be suspending their monthly draws for two months, meaning that equity partners won’t receive payouts for April or May. Salaries for both attorneys and business professionals at the firm will be cut by up to 20 percent for those who make over $100,000, but no one will have their pay reduced below that level. Those who already earn less than $100,000 will not have their salaries cut. Starting on May 1, the firm will also be furloughing some business professionals and staff attorneys, but the total number of those affected was not clear. The firm’s summer associate program will likely be pushed back to start in July, but an official decision has not yet been made.

“Given the continuing public health and economic crises, we, like many, had to take a careful look at everything and make tough but necessary decisions in order to maintain the strength of our firm,” Katten chairman Roger Furey said in a statement. “We are mindful of the enormous challenges that individuals and families are facing. Doing our best to take care of our people through these trying times is a priority.”

On the bright side, Katten has created a Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB) Fund, which will increase furloughed employees’ pay over what they’ll receive from governmental assistance funds that will bring them back to around 80 to 100 percent of their pre-furlough pay levels.

Best of luck to everyone at the firm as they navigate the pandemic.

If your firm or organization is slashing salaries, closing its doors, or reducing the ranks of its lawyers or staff, whether through open layoffs, stealth layoffs, or voluntary buyouts, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).

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Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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