Reed Smith has announced that it will be making redundancies, cutting pay and furloughing staff in response to the impact of Covid-19.

A spokesman for the firm told RollOnFriday that "a group of fewer than 20 lawyers and fewer than 10 staff" would be made redundant in London. So that equates to roughly 5% of the London office's workforce of 350 lawyers. 

The US-headquartered firm will also be introducing further pay cuts, having previously slashed pay in April. Non-equity partners at Reed Smith will have their pay reduced by 14%, while there will be pay cuts of 12.5% for counsel, 12% for associates and 6% for business services staff earning more than $100,000 (around £80,000).

Equity partners at the firm have already agreed to delay half of their bonus payments and cash distributions.

The majority of business services staff will have a reduction in working hours as they drop to a four-day working week with a commensurate salary cut. And a small number of employees will be temporarily furloughed.

"As a result of the prolonged economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to take further actions to ensure our business emerges from the pandemic in a position of strength," said Sandy Thomas the firm's global managing partner.


Other Americans have a less coherent strategy to tackle the virus 

Another US firm, Dorsey & Whitney, will also be cutting jobs in London - with associates in the firing line, RollOnFriday understands. Tim Maloney, head of the firm's London office, would not provide details, but confirmed there would be a "reduction in the firm's workforce" in order to "address the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic."

Maloney also confirmed that there would be pay cuts for lawyers and certain other members of staff which would "range from 10% to 20% for the remainder of the year." But that some lawyers "will have a reduction in billable hour guidelines and have the potential to receive special productivity bonuses at year-end".  

“After intense deliberation, we made these hard decisions so that we will continue to be a strong, efficient law firm,” said the firm's managing partner Bill Stoeri, adding "there is an emotional toll that goes along with these measures and these times".

Tip Off ROF


Other US firms 05 June 20 09:20

I’ve heard of another US firm in London doing the same, they’re not doing it as openly as the above though...

@Other US firms 05 June 20 10:12

Which firm, what are they allegedly doing, to whom? Don't see the need to be elusive about this. Firms who are legitimately stealthing need to be named.

Dorsey and who? 05 June 20 10:18

Never heard of this Dorsey firm. What mandates do they have in London? Has anyone ever worked on a deal opposite them? An obscure satellite by the sounds of it.

Spector 05 June 20 12:21

It is easy to say there are “no redundancies” when you are engaging in stealth layoffs. It allows a firm to boast that there are no redundancies and bonuses are going ahead, yet in reality we all know what’s happening and where those bonuses are coming from.

Fake news? 05 June 20 13:20

It's hard to know whether this is the truth or just random smearing without the commenters above and the people disliking posts providing actual details...

LOL 05 June 20 13:35

Yes, how about they start listing all the names of people who are being targeted just to make their life easier at the firm. Get a grip. People have better things to do than to smear for no reason. If you don’t want to believe, good for you, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

What’s really interesting is that it’s always the name of the same firm that’s coming up!

Fishbowl 05 June 20 14:07

Bit of a weird comment around Kirkland, given that bonuses are calculated based on September to August hours; and paid in January....I smell bull. 

Out of law now, thankfully! 05 June 20 14:19

Also, LOL @ 13:35, interesting how the only 'two' people defending Kirklands were both online within 2 minutes of each other.

@LOL 05 June 20 14:21

But what is actually happening? Have people being fired over zoom? Has anyone been given X months notice? Have bad performance reviews been used to send a message? Practice areas targetted? Seniors or juniors? Any groups targetted, e.g. women?

Ex-Dorsey 05 June 20 17:04

Dorsey & Whitney doesn't do anything in the City, it's a desert outpost for a thoroughly unremarkable mid-tier US firm. The redundancies were sadly a long time in the making.

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