Top-Ranked Biglaw Behemoth Cuts Partner Pay, Delays Raises And Bonuses

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If there’s anything at all that has been learned thus far from the coronavirus crisis, it’s that cost-cutting measures are coming for all of us. Even well-known firms at the very top of the Biglaw heap have implemented austerity measures.

We’ve now learned that DLA Piper — a firm with almost 4,000 lawyers and $2,835,986,000 gross revenue in 2018 — which currently sits at #4 on the latest Am Law 100 rankings, has taken steps to control its costs going forward. While associates in America were told just last week that there would be no layoffs or salary cuts, it seems like it’s a very different story in the firm’s offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

In an announcement from global co-CEO and managing partner Simon Levine, the following actions were disclosed in an effort to be “open and honest about the challenge our business faces in such difficult economic conditions”:

  • Partners’ monthly draws will be reduced beginning on May 1, and partners will defer quarterly distributions for three months. Further, the firm’s reduced profits due to the coronavirus crisis will have an impact on partner pay going forward in 2020.
  • Pay raises will not be awarded for the first half of the 2020-2021 financial year, and possibly for the entire year, but this will be reviewed in November.
  • Bonus payments will be delayed, and a decision won’t be made on when such awards will be paid until June.
  • The firm may ask some people to temporarily reduce their working hours or take sabbaticals.

We reached out to DLA Piper for comment, but have yet to hear back.

As noted by Levine, “we must all take the required steps to preserve jobs wherever possible and protect our firm.” Hopefully this is what it takes to avoid layoffs.

(Flip to the next page to see the full memo from DLA Piper.)

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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