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Crowell & Moring Reverses Virus-Related Associate Pay Cuts (1)

Aug. 20, 2020, 7:54 PM; Updated: Aug. 20, 2020, 9:54 PM

Crowell & Moring is scrapping pay cuts for associate attorneys and staff made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, joining a growing number of firms to at least partially scale back austerity measures.

“Based upon our performance, which has been better than anticipated, we have decided to resume pre-pandemic compensation levels for our associates, counsel and staff effective September 1,” firm chair Philip Inglima told Bloomberg Law via email.

Despite the move, Crowell & Moring is keeping reductions of 25% for draws for equity partners and 20% for income partners in place. The firm announced those cuts, and a 15% reduction for other attorneys, in April.

Crowell joins a handful of the large law firms that have recently eased up on pandemic-based austerity measures. Nearly half of the country’s 100 largest firms made some combination of cuts to pay or partner draws, furloughs, or layoffs as the pandemic spread in March.

Fox Rothschild, Reed Smith, K&L Gates, and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton announced earlier this month they were scaling back pay cuts. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft announced at the end of July it would reverse the temporary cuts it made in the spring.

Katten Muchin Rosenman confirmed Thursday that as of Aug. 1 it has halved previous cuts to salaries for attorneys and business professionals making $100,000 or more, restored more of previously reduced partner draws, and brought some furloughed employees back.

The roll backs come as some legal industry leaders say the economic downturn prompted by the virus has not been as bad as feared for many law firms.

“Thanks to your hard work, creativity, ingenuity and resilience, our Firm has performed better than expected to this point throughout the global pandemic,” K&L Gates Global Managing Partner Jim Segerdahl said in an Aug. 14 email to employees announcing reductions in pay cuts for attorneys and partners. “Indeed, it is doing quite well under the circumstances and given the widespread economic distress.”

AmLaw 50 firms—the largest based on annual revenue—saw grew revenue by an average of 7.1% over the first half of the year.

“We will continue to be fiscally conservative in the months ahead to ensure that our firm remains in the strongest position possible,” Crowell & Moring’s Inglima said.

(Added sixth paragraph with confirmation of rollback of measures at Katten.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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