May is just around the corner, but the Biglaw austerity measures inspired by COVID-19 are far from over.
After a 2017 merger that brought together Saul Ewing and Arnstein & Lehr to the obviously named Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, the firm took the 15th spot in the most recent the Vault ranking of most prestigious Mid-Atlantic firms. The firm was ranked 131st on the 2019 Am Law 200 after raking in $227,305,000 in gross revenue. But these accolades can’t stop the force that is COVID-19 austerity measures.
According to sources at the firm, they’re conducting layoffs/furloughs of associates and staff. Tipsters say the number of non-partner attorneys out of work is 25, while expect figures on impacted staff remain unclear. The firm is also cutting salaries, and though the exact percentages are unclear, the cuts only apply to those making more than $50,000 a year.
When asked for comment, Managing Partner Barry F. Levin provided the following:
As businesses across the country are doing in this unprecedented global health and economic crisis, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr has taken steps to ensure that our Firm remains stable through this turbulent period and is well-positioned to continue to provide excellent legal services to our clients. At the outset of the outbreak, we focused on thoughtfully managing our expenses by reducing discretionary spending and postponing large capital projects. Our partners also saw reductions in their draws. However, with longer-term projections from the government and our clients now available, we have taken steps to broaden our austerity measures to ensure our firm is in the best position possible when things begin to normalize.
Our comprehensive approach involves salary reductions for those making more than $50,000 per year, temporary furloughs and layoffs. We opted to make these difficult changes now, with the goal of avoiding the need for further measures down the road. More optimistically, we will also be prepared to roll-back the added precautions when warranted. We believe this shared sacrifice across all constituencies is the most fair solution at this challenging time.
We are confident that implementing these austerity measures at this time will ensure that we continue to have the most strategic team in place to serve our clients throughout this pandemic and beyond.
We sure hope the firm will be able to “roll-back” all of its austerity measures.
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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