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More pay cuts, layoffs as firms grapple with economic impact of pandemic

Caroline Spiezio  

Caroline Spiezio  

(Reuters) - More law firms are cutting pay or headcount as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which has in recent weeks forced many firms to face hard choices on how to conserve cash as the pandemic wreaks havoc across the United States.

Arent Fox on Thursday said in a statement that it is “instituting a temporary pay cut for all attorneys, professionals, and staff.” The firm declined to comment further.
The Washington D.C.-based firm has more than 450 attorneys in five offices in the U.S., according to its website.
Also on Thursday, Loeb & Loeb, a more than 400-lawyer firm known for its entertainment industry work, said it will delay its quarterly April distribution to its capital partners until July, and that it will cut those partners’ monthly draws by 20%. Other lawyers and senior staff at the firm will take 15% pay cuts and the rest of the firm’s employees will see 10% reductions, it said.
The firm’s chairman Kenneth Florin did not immediately provide additional comment on Thursday.
Scahill Law Group, which is based in Bethpage, New York, has furloughed approximately 50 support staff, its managing partner Francis Scahill said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday. The firm has approximately 150 employees total, he said.
Scahill said the firm has taken a financial hit as courts close, but that he hopes furloughed employees can rejoin the firm once courts and businesses start to reopen.
Baker Donelson on Wednesday said it had cut shareholder pay and would furlough some employees and temporarily reduce the salaries of others, including attorneys. Pryor Cashman on Tuesday said it had furloughed some associates indefinitely.
That same day, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft said it has paused partner pay and temporarily cut compensation for associates and other employees by up to 25%, while Allen & Overy said it would cut partner pay and freeze salaries for attorneys or business support staff in the first quarter of its upcoming financial year.
Reed Smith on Monday announced it would “slow partner cash distributions in the near term.”
At least two other law firms, Womble Bond Dickinson and Goldberg Segalla, have told Reuters they laid off employees in the U.S. because of the pandemic.

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