Law Firms

Pay is at least partly restored at these law firms; some lawyers will get bonuses

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Associates and staffers at some law firms are getting good news after seeing lower paychecks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning in August, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft will completely restore pay, report Law360 and Reuters.

Pay had been cut by 25% for associates, counsels and senior staff members and by 10% for other administrative staff members.

Two other law firms—Baker Botts and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart—are offering bonuses, report Above the Law (here and here) and Law360 (here and here). Baker Botts is also partly restoring pay that had been cut by 20% to 30%.

Patrick Quinn, managing partner at Cadwalader, said in a firmwide letter that some practice areas had declined, but others were busy, including some that were busier than projected before the pandemic.

Quinn said no layoffs have happened, although some legal secretaries were offered voluntary retirement packages, according to Law360.

Baker Botts will trim pay cuts by half beginning Sept. 1, according to Law360. The law firm had cut pay by 20% to 30% for counsels, by 20% for associates, and by up to 25% for staff members making more than $70,000.

Baker Botts is also offering interim bonuses for exceptional contributions by attorneys and counsels. The firm also expects to award bonuses later in the year for exceptional support by staff members. All employees are also getting a $1,000 technology stipend.

Ogletree Deakins said it will offer a special bonus of $10,000 to associates who bill at least 1,700 hours and an additional $10,000 bonus to associates who bill at least 1,900 hours. Those who bill more than 2,000 hours are eligible for a bonus of up to 25% of their pre-pandemic compensation, according to Reuters.

Counsels who meet hourly expectations will also get a special $10,000 bonus.

Ogletree Deakins had reduced compensation by 20% for equity partners, by 15% for other lawyers, and by 10% for staff members earning at least $100,000.

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