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IN BRIEF: Dorsey & Whitney to reduce billable hour guidelines, pay and headcount

Caroline Spiezio  

Caroline Spiezio  

(Reuters) - Dorsey & Whitney is reducing billable hour guidelines for associates and “certain other attorneys” as it implements sweeping cost-cutting measures and some layoffs to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it said in a statement late Tuesday.

While more than 50 large U.S. law firms have taken steps since March to conserve cash amid the pandemic, Dorsey & Whitney is one of the first to say it will adjust its billable hour expectations.
The firm is also laying off attorneys and staff, it said Tuesday, though it declined to provide specifics. It said it offered severance or benefit arrangements to those impacted.
In June the firm will cut pay by 10-20% until the end of the year for non-partner attorneys and some staff, with no reductions for staff making less than $150,000 in annual base compensation, it said. It had in April announced limits on equity partner distributions.
The firm has also delayed the start of its incoming first-year associate class until January 2021 and shortened its summer associate program from 10 weeks to seven.
”After intense deliberation, we made these hard decisions so that we will continue to be a strong, efficient law firm … There is an emotional toll that goes along with these measures and these times,” said Dorsey & Whitney Managing Partner William Stoeri in the statement Tuesday.
He did not immediately respond to request for additional comment on Wednesday.
Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney has nearly 700 professionals and 19 offices listed on its website.

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