It’s a crazy time in Biglaw. The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has led to the shutdown of many industries and the economy is reeling. Biglaw has been far from unscathed — there’ve been layoffs and furloughs. Other firms have opted for salary cuts (10 percent pay reductions, 25 percent pay cuts, and partners who’ve slowed or eliminated their payday) and benefits have taken a hit. Now another firm is making big moves for the “financial stability” of the firm.
Am Law 100 firm Baker Donelson is taking a number of steps to reduce the financial burden of COVID-19. Partner salaries have already been slashed. But that isn’t the end of the salary reductions. In the coming weeks, the entire firm will take a pay cut — that is, if they still have jobs. That’s right, the firm is also furloughing employees (exact numbers remain unclear). Though the firm would like to bring the newly unemployed folks back “once this crisis subsides,” there is not currently a defined timeline or date for that.
A Baker Donelson spokesperson provided the following statement:
In the wake of the unprecedented and far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker Donelson has unfortunately been faced with some very difficult decisions. We have undertaken a number of measures to ensure the financial stability of the Firm moving forward, which includes shareholder reduction in draws and salary that have already been implemented. This will be followed over the next few weeks by temporary salary reductions across the Firm and with a furloughing of some employees. We are focused on doing all we can for all of our employees, while also ensuring uninterrupted service to our clients and meeting our temporary operating needs throughout this global crisis and beyond. Our hope is that, once this crisis subsides, we will eventually be able to bring the furloughed team members back to Baker Donelson. Until then, we are providing them with support to help minimize the impact of what we know is an extremely trying situation, particularly in these highly uncertain times.
Good luck to all those bearing the brunt of the economic downturn.
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).
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).
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