Newly Merged Megafirm Slashes Partner Pay To Be ‘Prudent’ During Pandemic

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If you thought working at a Biglaw firm during a pandemic was difficult because it’s forced the majority of the office into a work-from-home environment, imagine working at a Biglaw megafirm that merged just weeks before the crisis began. It’s an uncertain time for everyone, but there’s even more uncertainty when a newly combined firm is just starting to get its footing when disaster strikes.

This is what’s happening at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, the firm that was formed after Faegre Baker Daniels finalized its merger with Drinker Biddle & Reath on February 1. If you recall, the prospective Am Law 50 firm with more than 1,300 lawyers was one of the very first to close its doors over coronavirus concerns.

How is Faegre Drinker proceeding amid all of the salary cuts, furloughs, and layoffs that have come about at peer firms due to the global health crisis? The firm’s partners are reportedly taking a rather “sizable” hit for the team:

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has deferred its equity partner distributions by one-third for the second quarter in an effort to be “prudent and conservative” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the firm said.

It is also monitoring the expenses generated by its workforce of more than 1,300 lawyers, consultants and professionals located across 22 offices, said co-chairs Andrew Kassner and Tom Froehle.

“It’s inevitable if it impacts our clients, it’ll impact the law firms. Everything has to be on the table as we plan going forward over the second quarter and third quarter and beyond,” Kassner said. He initially described it as being a cut in partner distributions, but then emphasized the firm was deferring those distributions: “It’s just a deferral. It’s all a matter of timing.”

Best of luck to Faegre Drinker in the months ahead. It sounds like the firm is doing right by its employees, which will hopefully lead to its success in the future.

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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