Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner says it is shuttering its small Beijing office and cutting lawyers and staff in London, but also easing some of the salary reductions it adopted in May in response to the business uncertainty sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm, which was formed via transatlantic merger in 2018, said it plans to close in Beijing where it has one partner and two associates, and confirmed that it will cut 14 lawyers and 26 business services staff in the firm’s London office.
The earlier pay cuts for lawyers and employees who earn more than $40,000 will continue across Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, the firm said in a statement, but future reductions will be cut in half to 7.5% from 15% The new measures begin in August and extend through the end of 2020.
A number of Big Law firms in addition to Bryan Cave, have reduced compensation for lawyers and staff to keep cash flowing in despite a rocky economy. Furloughs and layoffs have been more unusual, but have been used by some firms.
“While a difficult decision to make, we believe the limited adjustments to our workforce are in the best interest of our clients, our business, and our people for the long term,” Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner co-chairs Lisa Mayhew and Steve Baumer said in a joint statement.
The pair also noted that the firm “had a stronger than expected first half” of 2020, and that they were “pleased to begin rolling back salary reductions necessitated during the worst of the pandemic conditions.”
The firm’s moves follow a decision last month to pare back its newly qualified lawyer salaries in London by 2.5%, and furlough some paralegals and other staff.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has more than 1,400 lawyers and 30 offices following the closure in China.