All in it together though.
Allen & Overy is restarting pay reviews for its fee-earning lawyers - but keeping everyone else's salaries on ice.
The Magic Circle firm cancelled scheduled salary reviews in the first quarter of the financial year when the pandemic hit. But, confirmed a spokeswoman, "Following a recent review, we have taken the decision to increase lawyer salaries to align to the market as appropriate to their band or relevant discretionary increase for their role".
The increase will be reflected in their December pay, backdated to November.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our people for their ongoing contribution to the firm in these extraordinary times", she said.
A source who sent the news from Allen & Overy rejoiced, "Spread the good news, the Covid-Era seems to be behind us. God bless the MC, god bless ROF".
The blessings shot wide of business services staff and practice professionals, however, who received an email from management explaining that their salaries would remain frozen, because no-one was looking to hire them.
"We continually review the external market to ensure that our salary bands are competitive when compared to those of our Magic Circle peers", staff were told in the leaked email. "This is vital if we are to recruit and retain the right people".
Alluding to pay reviews being commenced at other Magic Circle firms, the email explained that "in recent weeks, the market has moved with some of our peers lifting salary freezes for their London lawyers and so the changes we are making are market driven".
But the economic outlook "for the coming months remains uncertain" and "therefore, in the absence of any significant market pressure, the salary freeze will remain in place for practice professionals and support staff for the time being".
Staff were told that if the business "continues to perform well", they would receive year-end bonuses which would include an amount equivalent to the salary raise they would have got if they weren't being skipped over.
Affected staff complained that A&O was acting like a sheep following the flock, paying fee-earners more because there was market pressure to do so, but, because there was no such competition for anyone else, they would just have to suck it up.
"Wow...the rich just keep getting richer", commented one employee to RollOnFriday. "Off to the food bank I go... #canwebemoredivided".
While the financials make sense, when the market recovers it remains to be seen how long talent in the marketing, finance, IT, tech, HR and BD teams will hang around at firms which have told them so clearly where they stand in the pecking order.
A spokesperson for Allen & Overy said, "If we continue to sustain our good performance through the second half of the financial year, we will ensure that year-end bonuses appropriately reflect this performance and also undertake a review of market reward levels".
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