We knew this was coming. On Friday, Baker McKenzie — the huge Biglaw firm with over 6,000 attorneys worldwide — gave employees a heads up that COVID-19 austerity measures, namely salary cuts, were coming. Quite a few employees of the mega firm reached out to Above the Law to express their… displeasure at being left wondering how big a financial burden they’d be forced to shoulder over the holiday weekend.
Well, the wait is over. This afternoon, Baker McKenzie North America Chief Executive Officer Colin Murray emailed employees (full email available on the next page) the planned cuts. In the United States, all attorneys and business professionals making over $100,000 will see a 15 percent cut in salary. In Canada folks are getting a 10 percent cut, and no cuts are planned in Mexico. Annual raises, usually scheduled for July 1 at the firm, will not happen. And the firm anticipates these lower salary points lasting from May 1 through December 31.
On the happier side, the firm will establish an emergency loan fund (details forthcoming) for those particularly hard impacted. And they’re keeping the door open for additional bonuses for “exemplary performance”:
We anticipate recognizing and additionally awarding payments to our top performers, as well as to others demonstrating exemplary performance in the face of increasing demands on their time — both timekeepers and business professionals — later in the year.
As Murray said in a statement to the media:
“We all will share in some short-term pain, but in the long term, taking these actions now is the most prudent way for us to move through this crisis as a Firm, with the smallest impact possible on our people and our clients.”
Good luck to those at the firm as they weather the financial consequences of COVID-19.
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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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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