Last month Slaughter and May deferred annual salary reviews which would have occurred in May, and decided not to move lawyers through their salary scales. In order to further mitigate against the expected downturn caused by the coronavirus, it has now decreased NQ salary for lawyers qualifying in September to £87,000, RollOnFriday understands.
Given that each cost-saving measure has spread like wildfire through the market, expect other top firms which haven't already imposed pay cuts at that level to follow suit. And just when they had all bumped up NQ pay packages to six figures, too.
The virus was actually cooked up in an HR lab.
Meanwhile, Osborne Clarke has taken the "unfortunate but prudent decision" to reduce staff pay by 7%, it confirmed to RollOnFriday.
"While there are encouraging signs that the pandemic is abating in the UK and in some of our international markets, normal economic and business activity is expected to remain subdued at best, throughout 2020, and possibly beyond", said a spokesperson.
Cuts of 20% have become standard as firms seek to preserve a war chest, so 7% seems pretty reasonable by comparison. The cut will apply from 1st June for 11 months, but only to staff earning £30,000 or more, and no-one will have their pay cut below £30,000. And Osborne Clarke has said that if it reaches its new financial target for 2020/21, it will pay everyone back.
The cut forms part of a number of measures employed by the Bristol-based firm, which is one of the happiest law firms in the UK, to address the impact of the virus. OC is also offering employees voluntary options including part-paid sabbaticals, early retirement, a reduction in hours or moving to a job share.
At the top of the firm, its UK partners are deferring 75% of their special drawings while proceeding with “long-planned additional capital contributions". And, from 1st June, they will also be subject to a 10% cut in their monthly draws (essentially their salary) for 11 months.
"While we are in a relatively strong cash position, and introduced more stringent cost control a few months ago, the partnership has agreed that further measures are prudent", said a spokesperson.