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Kelley Drye Latest Firm to Roll Back Some Virus-Related Cuts (1)

Sept. 3, 2020, 3:30 PMUpdated: Sept. 3, 2020, 6:11 PM

Kelley, Drye & Warren is the latest law firm to roll back some of the pay cuts it introduced in the spring to counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement to the firm on Thursday, chair James Carr said that the firm’s 10% pay cut for associates, special counsel, and staff earning more than $100,000 would be reduced to 5%. Partner reductions will remain in place for the time being.

“The firm implemented a number of cost cutting measures this spring to minimize the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and to protect the financial health of the firm,” Carr wrote in a firm-wide email. “Thanks to these actions and your dedication to our clients, we are now in a position to restore some of the salary reductions implemented in May.”

Dana Rosenfeld, the firm’s managing partner, said more adjustments to the pay cuts might be possible later this year.

“We take a conservative approach to managing the firm’s financial position and limiting expenses,” she said. “This approach has helped to control the impact of the coronavirus crisis and we are cautiously optimistic about the remainder of 2020.”

Kelley Drye follows other firms, including Fox Rothschild, Crowell & Moring, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, and Davis Wright Tremaine, in rolling back some of the pay cuts they put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly half of the 100 largest firms announced salary cuts, furloughs, or layoffs earlier this year.

While most law firms seem to have been spared the worst of the economic crisis, not all news has been good.

Davis Wright restored 50% of the salary reductions implemented in May, but the firm also laid off some of its furloughed staff this week. Managing partner Jeff Gray said the layoffs were due to “not knowing when, if ever, their previous work will return.”

Baker McKenzie also announced Tuesday that it would reduce its North American workforce by 6% as a result of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The firm said the move was intended to prepare “the next normal.”

And Skadden on Thursday said it would lay off 4% of its professional staff in the U.S.

(Added quote from Dana Rosenfeld in paragraphs four and five. Added information about Skadden layoff in final paragraph. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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