Baker McKenzie Announces There Will Definitely Be COVID-19 Cuts. But Exactly What They Are, Who The Hell Knows.

Talk about amping up the anxiety! I’m sure the folks at Baker McKenzie are trying for transparency, but the effort leaves something to be desired.

According to multiple tipsters, the North American offices of Baker McKenzie had an all-hands conference call today. The message was clear — pay cuts are coming. But the specifics weren’t revealed, and firm leadership said exactly how much their paychecks would be impacted would be revealed next week. And tipsters aren’t happy at this partial reveal:

The rather tactless announcement left everyone reeling over the lack of specifics…which will no doubt carry over into every employee’s holiday weekend.

The amount of the planned salary cut is plainly important. During the course of the COVID-19 austerity measures, we’ve seen a wide variety of pay cuts implemented — some as low as 5 percent and others as high as 30 percent. The difference in take-home pay between those extremes could easily be the difference between being able to make your mortgage payment and being unable to swing living expenses.

While the exact pocketbook impact remains a question, we do know that both staff and attorneys making over $100,000 are on the chopping block. But as a tipster revealed, at this point, the firm intends to institute true-up bonuses when this whole mess is over and has kept the door open for high-biller bonuses.

The town hall also revealed the firm has no current plans for economic layoffs. But, in the opinion of one tipster, the phrasing of the announcement leaves the door open for the dreaded stealth layoffs:

Also mentioned that this should result in no layoffs “for pure economic reasons”… wording and emphasis on that felt suspicious to me that layoffs for other reasons may be coming.

We reached out to the firm, but they did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Hopefully those at the firm will be able to weather the coming salary cuts, no matter how large they may be.

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).

If you’d like to sign up for ATL’s Layoff Alerts, please scroll down and enter your email address in the box below this post. If you previously signed up for the layoff alerts, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll receive an email notification within minutes of each layoff, salary cut, or furlough announcement that we publish.

headshotKathryn 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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