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Seyfarth furloughs 10% of employees, cuts pay across firm

Caroline Spiezio  

Caroline Spiezio  

(Reuters) - Seyfarth Shaw on Friday said it had furloughed 10% of its employees in the United States, including some attorneys, and that it is cutting pay across the firm and delaying its first-year associate start date to conserve cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pete Miller, Seyfarth Shaw’s chair and managing partner, in a statement on Friday, said that the firm’s “financial foundation remains strong” but that it is “implementing these new measures now out of caution.”
The firm said the furloughs would last 90 days and that it would pay the full cost of affected employees’ health coverage during that time, in the statement. It declined to provide additional comment.
Chicago-based Seyfarth has about 900 lawyers who represent companies in all facets of labor and employment law, including many high-profile discrimination, wage-and-hour, and National Labor Relations Board cases.
The firm said in the statement that on April 1 it had reduced equity partner monthly draws by 20%. Starting on May 1, all other U.S.-based attorneys will take a 10% pay cut, it said.
Seyfarth said most staff will take stepped pay cuts on May 1, with a 10% reduction for those earning more than $150,000; 5% for earnings between $150,000 and $60,000; and 0% on the first $60,000 of earnings, the firm said.
The firm has also pushed back its start date for its first year associates until January 2021 and has not yet decided whether or not they will be provided pay for the lost work, it said.
It has also canceled its formal summer fellow program but it said that impacted students would get offers and a stipend.
The cuts come as many consultants and lawyers have predicted an uptick in the amount of labor and employment legal work, due to the pandemic, which has sparked layoffs nationwide.
More than 50 law firms have also announced cost-cutting measures to the pandemic, including Norton Rose Fulbright, K&L Gates and Baker McKenzie.

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