This is big. After all, only 10 firms in the entire country are bigger than Norton Rose Fulbright; they had $1,969,315,000 in 2018 gross revenue, making them number 11 on the Am Law 100 ranking. But despite that size and might, the firm still finds themselves in need of cost-cutting measures because of COVID-19. And not just salary cuts, which many firms see as a prudent move to help with cash flow as opposed to a permanent change in compensation, but we understand layoffs are also part of their austerity plan.
So, let’s get to the details we know. Above the Law tipsters report Norton Rose Fulbright announced a 15 percent salary cut in the U.S. The compensation cut applies to all salaried non-partner attorneys and staff, except those making under $50,000. As of now, the pay cuts will start April 30 and are expected to last through September 30. As a tipster noted, “However, they’ve not cut their summer program nor ceased hiring new attorneys. There is no reduction in required billable hours or change in bonus metrics.”
We’ve also received information from multiple sources that the austerity measures at the firm have included layoffs — characterized by one tipster as “the WORST PART.” According to those at the firm, both staff and attorneys were impacted by these layoffs, but exactly how many folks find themselves out of work was something Norton Rose refused to disclose.
The firm is already in the process of implementing four-day work week, on a temporary basis, for some of its eligible staff in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Jeff Cody, Norton Rose Fulbright’s US Managing Partner, made the following statement about the cost-cutting measures:
“As we all know, the coronavirus is having an unprecedented effect on markets and businesses around the world and in the US. The extent of the virus’ impact on the legal industry is unclear at this time, but the road ahead appears challenging. In light of these conditions, US leadership believes it is prudent to take steps to address this uncertainty and ensure that our law firm emerges healthy and strong. Although difficult, we have asked our attorneys and staff to accept a temporary reduction in compensation. We will work aggressively throughout the balance of the year in the hope that we can lessen the impact of these salary reductions. We also have made discrete reductions in our US work force as part of our plan to safeguard the future of our more than 1,600 lawyers and staff.”
Best of luck to those who find themselves out of work in the middle of a pandemic.
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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