Sheppard Mullin Latest To Walk Back COVID-19 Salary Cuts
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Law360 (August 18, 2020, 8:29 PM EDT) — Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLPis the latest firm to roll back the salary reductions it implemented in May in response to the coronavirus pandemic, confirming Tuesday that it is reducing all virus-related compensation adjustments by half.
The Los Angeles-based firm introduced its pay-cut planon April 27, which includes a 12% reduction for associates, special counsel and staff attorneys through the end of the year; 5% reductions for staff members earning between $70,000 and $90,000 a year; and 10% reductions for staff earning more than $90,000.
In a firmwide email Tuesday, Sheppard Mullin chairman Guy Halgren announced that all salary reductions will be cut back by half, effective Aug. 31, and the new measures are scheduled to remain in place through the end of 2020.
“The firm continues to outperform the model we adopted at the outset of the pandemic,” Halgren said in the email, thanking the firm’s attorneys and staff for their services during the coronavirus pandemic.
He added, “Average hours last month were at budget, and we are seeing solid progress in the transactional practices that were especially hard hit when deal work slowed.”
Going forward, Sheppard Mullin’s executive committee will continue to monitor the firm’s performance each month, and depending on results and the severity of the pandemic’s impact, more adjustments could be possible, the letter said.
In April, Sheppard Mullin also furloughed 51 staff members, noting they were not needed in the offices and could not perform their duties from home. According to Halgren, two of those staff have returned to work. He said the firm will continue to reassess the status of the 49 remaining staff and pay for medical benefits during their leave.
Sheppard Mullin is among several other firms that have walked back pay cuts this summer after instituting them in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Houston-based Baker Botts LLPlast monthalso confirmed that it will dial back its salary reductions by 50%, beginning Sept. 1. Meanwhile, New York-headquartered Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLPsaid it will rewind to pre-pandemic pay levels starting in August.
In July, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLPsaid it was reducing previously announced pay cuts that impacted all employees of the firm earning more than $40,000 from 15% to 7.5%, while at the same time announcing it would lay off a “very small proportion” of its workforce.
–Additional reporting by Aebra Coe. Editing by Emily Kokoll.
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