Legal Business Blogs

‘Back to the usual timeline’: BLP latest to thaw pay freeze

After being the first known firm to freeze pay after the Brexit vote, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has gone ahead with salary reviews.

In July BLP froze pay for all UK-based staff following Brexit concerns, with managing partner Lisa Mayhew (pictured) stating in an email it was ‘the prudent thing to do’. The freeze included salaries for associates, paralegals, business development, marketing and other back office staff.

A spokesman said the freeze was over and the firm will now revert to the ‘usual review timeline’ which means the next review is due in July 2017.

BLP is only one of the firms which chose post-Brexit caution after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Addleshaw Goddard also froze salary reviews for staff and delayed its annual review of partner remuneration for both fixed-share and full-equity partners in August, and then restarted its salary review for all staff last month, pledging to backdate increases.

After a similar move in the summer, Gowling WLG also informed its staff on 20 September that it will restart the delayed salary review, as did Trowers & Hamlins.

Trowers had placed the freeze on fee earners’ pay in August, citing the ‘economic uncertainty’ following Brexit, and then reversed it in September following a management board meeting.

Similarly, national law firm Bond Dickinson also chose to ‘defer’ pay increases in September, citing Brexit as a reason and referring to a November review. The firm said it could not comment on the freeze at press time.

On top of the salary woes, Simmons & Simmons laid off lawyers in its commercial, banking and real estate practices after the vote. A senior partner at the firm would not be drawn on the number of redundancies, but said: ‘The numbers are not big. It’s largely in real estate.’

Real estate practices have experienced a marked slowdown since the Brexit vote, with many citing cancelled deals. The vote resulted in an exodus of capital that has caused some funds to halt trading, with retail investors withdrawing £1.4bn from property funds in June according to the Investment Association.