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COVID-19: City law furloughs and pay freezes continue

Outfits take financial measures to protect jobs amid pandemic

City law firms continue to take steps to shield themselves from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic through a combination of staff furloughs, pay freezes and partner profit deferrals.

Watson Farley Williams confirmed it had furloughed 49 non-fee earners and suspended partner distributions. The firm is not, however, freezing salaries or postponing promotions.

Meanwhile, Gowling WLG is furloughing staff, deferring partner profit distributions and encouraging unpaid leave and sabbaticals. Some staff will also work reduced hours for less pay from May to October 2020.

HFW revealed it too had furloughed a small number of staff and frozen pay rises for this financial year. The firm has also deferred a portion of partners’ salaries.

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Elsewhere, Shoosmiths has deferred dividend payments for partners and is in discussions with staff over a new working arrangement that would see a number of them take a 20% cut in hours for 80% pay. This would be on a temporary and voluntary basis.

Addleshaw Goddard deferred partner distributions due to be paid out next month, while Charles Russell Speechlys confirmed it had suspended quarterly distributions to partners until further notice.

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