Law Firms

Seyfarth Cuts Pay for Some Partners and Associates, Lays Off 50 People

Yet another law firm is cutting pay for some of its lawyers.

Seyfarth Shaw is cutting pay for some segments of its partner and associate teams in amounts ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent, according to Above the Law and the Recorder. Those staffers left behind won’t get the usual pay increase in August, and summer associates will see a shortened summer program and a reduced compensation structure, according to an internal memo posted on Above the Law.

The law firm confirmed the reports in an e-mail to the ABA Journal.

Law firm consultant Peter Zeughauser says more firms are likely to follow. “I think you are seeing the beginning of a broad movement,” he told the Recorder, echoing comments he made last week to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Seyfarth also announced that it laid off 50 attorneys and staff on Friday, and that cuts are spread out among all of its offices nationwide. The firm laid off around 25 staff members in January and cut 30 lawyers and paralegals in December.

Seyfarth’s latest move follows announcements last week by Nixon Peabody and Squire Sanders & Dempsey that they are also cutting associate pay. About a dozen law firms have cut associate pay “in some form or fashion,” including top 10 firms Greenberg Traurig and Baker & McKenzie, according to the Recorder.

Nixon Peabody is cutting the base pay for associates based on individual performance and contributions to the firm. The firm is also cutting pay to $145,000 for new associates in major financial centers. Squire Sanders is cutting associate pay by 10 percent.

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