Law Firm Uses Furloughs, Layoffs, And Salary Cuts To Make It Through COVID-19

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How are law firms dealing with the economic upheaval that’s come about thanks to the coronavirus? Not especially well. Thus far, we’ve seen layoffs, furloughs, salary cuts of all kinds (ranging from 10 percent, to 20 percent, to 25 percent, and some partners have even slowed or eliminated their distributions), and some reductions in benefits.

Now we’ve got a firm that’s going for the trifecta: furloughs, layoffs, and salary cuts.

Thanks to COVID-19’s impact on the economy, Cullen & Dykman, a midsize New York law firm, has laid off or furloughed at least 30 people and cut compensation for lawyers and staff by up to 20 percent or more. According to Christopher Palmer, the firm’s managing partner, “certain limited terminations and furloughs” were necessary due to the pandemic. The New York Law Journal has the details:

Two sources familiar with the events said at least 30 people, both staff and attorneys, were let go through a combination of layoffs and furloughs. It’s not clear how many of them were laid off and how many were furloughed with the expectation they would be rehired.

The sources also said staff and lawyers at the firm, both partners and associates, were having their pay cut by varying amounts, up to 20% or more.

“The firm must take a proactive, fiscally cautious approach,” Palmer said in the firm email Tuesday. “Like most other firms and businesses, we must set forth a clear plan. … [I]t will involve all of us making certain sacrifices.”

Best of luck to everyone who fell victim to these three horribles at the firm. Facing financial insecurity on top of a health crisis is a scary place to be. Please stay well.

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.

Cullen & Dykman Lays Off and Furloughs, While Cutting Lawyer and Staff Pay [New York Law Journal]

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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