Bryan Cave Defers Partner Payments, Cuts Staff Salaries

April 8, 2020, 4:25 PM

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is deferring payments to partners and will cut salaries for many staff and associates by 15% in response to “potential challenges” the firm said may result from Covid-19.

The firm declined to provide detail on the size or duration of the partner compensation deferral, but said its partners will be “primarily responsible for absorbing any downturn” in financial performance from the crisis.

Many Big Law firms are making moves to protect their financial position as they anticipate demand will fall with a large segment of the world’s population under some form of lockdown and businesses facing stress. Deferring partner payments has become a common response, and some firms have cut staff jobs.

The pay cuts for employees at BCLP will last for 13 weeks beginning in May, the firm said, and would apply to those making more than $40,000 in annual income. The firm has also offered sabbaticals at 30% of base pay and part-time working arrangements to some employees.

“By acting swiftly and decisively, we expect to maintain our strong financial footing,” firm co-chairs Lisa Mayhew and Steve Baumer said in a statement. “Taking these precautions now, and acting in the best interests of our Firm and all our people, will position us well for the future.”

The firm chairs said BCLP had grown revenue and productivity in the first quarter of the year compared to 2019, and that many of its practice areas “remain busy.” But they said challenges likely would arise, and their scope and duration were uncertain.

BCLP was formed by a merger in 2018 between the U.S. firm Bryan Cave and the UK-based Berwin Leighton Paisner. The 1,400-lawyer firm brought in nearly $870 million in revenue last year, which was down nearly 3.5% from 2018, according to AmLaw.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in.

Learn more about a Bloomberg Law subscription.