NRF asks staff to cut working hours by a fifth and defers partner pay in re-introduction of financial crisis-era flexi scheme

NRF asks staff to cut working hours by a fifth and defers partner pay in re-introduction of financial crisis-era flexi scheme

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is asking its staff to agree to a 20% cut of weekly working hours and delaying profit distribution to partners in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The firm announced today (20 April) it is asking its employees to sign up to a temporary change of their contract for one year from 20 April which will make them eligible to move to 80% of their working hours and base salary.

Pioneering City arbitration set secures DC launch with latest member

Pioneering City arbitration set secures DC launch with latest member

Int-Arb Arbitrators & Mediators (Int-Arb), the specialist set of advocates launched earlier this year, is opening a new branch in Washington DC with the recruitment of its latest member.

The veteran mediator and arbitrator Wolf von Kumberg becomes the sixth tenant at Int-Arb, the set and membership service for independent practitioners launched in January. Von Kumberg, who joins from ArbDB Chambers, will split his time between Int-Arb’s central London offices and the new branch in Washington.

Supreme Court rules in favour of Morrisons in landmark data breach case

Supreme Court rules in favour of Morrisons in landmark data breach case

In a significant move for the future of large data breach and privacy cases, Morrisons Supermarkets has successfully defeated a group litigation claim following a decision by the Supreme Court this morning (1 April).

The case centres on whether a company can be held vicariously liable for the actions of a single employee, after thousands of members of staff found their personal information disclosed on the internet by a rogue employee in the company’s audit team.

US worst hit as Cadwalader becomes latest firm to respond to Covid-19 with pay cuts

US worst hit as Cadwalader becomes latest firm to respond to Covid-19 with pay cuts

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has become the latest firm to take drastic financial measures as the Covid-19 pandemic reaches new heights suspending partner pay and cutting salaries elsewhere. 

The move comes as the number of confirmed cases of the virus in the US soared to nearly 200,000 today (1 April) and the number of deaths reached 4,000. Cadwalader will stop paying partners, reduce associate salaries by 25% and impose pay cuts of 10% to 25% on staff to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis as it hits businesses around the world. 

Competition, supply chains and act of God clauses – First considerations for GCs in their Covid-19 responses

Competition, supply chains and act of God clauses – First considerations for GCs in their Covid-19 responses

Businesses have shown remarkable resilience through an era defined by increasingly rapid change. Innovation, diversity and agility have driven adaptability and resilience. But now such resilience is facing a far more severe test in the shape of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through societies and economies. Yet well-led businesses identify themes and opportunities emerging even from this crisis.

General counsel have the challenge of juggling (i) strategy – working with their boards on strategy and performance; (ii) legal issues and regulatory change; and (iii) team leadership and delivery (who, what, where, how). Identifying a framework and common themes can help decision-making.

A&O takes coronavirus threat to task with raft of belt-tightening measures

A&O takes coronavirus threat to task with raft of belt-tightening measures

 Allen & Overy has pre-empted a likely financial hit from the coronavirus crisis with a host of measures, including altering profit distribution to partners, increasing partner capital levels and freezing some investments and recruitment. 

The firm confirmed today (31 March) what it described as prudent management measures’ as part of its ‘ongoing scenario planning’ as the Covid-19 continues to affect international businesses.  

Ashurst launches consulting arm to handle Covid-19 demand with Deloitte partner hire

Ashurst launches consulting arm to handle Covid-19 demand with Deloitte partner hire

Ashurst has launched a consulting business with the hire of a senior Deloitte partner in Australia to deal with growing client demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm said today (31 March) it had hired Philip Hardy, a partner at the Big Four consultancy since 2008 and head of its Australian governance, regulation and conduct advisory business. The resulting Ashurst Consulting will initially be offered in Australia and will advise clients on minimising risk, manage change and bolstering business performance.

‘Brutal clarity on priorities’ – A&O’s former chief looks back to the banking crisis for lessons to aid law firm leaders now

‘Brutal clarity on priorities’ – A&O’s former chief looks back to the banking crisis for lessons to aid law firm leaders now

What lessons can we learn from the 2008/09 financial crisis to help law firm leaders manage the escalating disruption of the coronavirus outbreak ravaging populations and crippling economies? Every crisis is different and this one is very different and it’s no use merely fighting the last war. Nonetheless, in terms of dramatic economic upheaval and rolling uncertainty, the impact of the banking crisis shares some common ground and there are some principles that hold good for any financial crisis.

The first principle is that if you’re the leader when a crisis strikes, you need to act like one. My experience as senior partner of Allen & Overy during 2008/09 was that a crisis will probably define you in that role, for better or worse. There is nowhere to hide, so don’t even try; this is showtime and you are centre stage. Put yourself out there so people know someone with calm assurance is in charge.

Coronavirus latest: Reed Smith to limit partner drawings as firms start to bunker in for the crisis

Coronavirus latest: Reed Smith to limit partner drawings as firms start to bunker in for the crisis

Reed Smith has ringfenced a portion of its cash reserves against partner distributions as a means to mitigate the impact of the unfolding Covid-19 crisis. 

The new contingency measures will include every office at the firm, with global managing partner Sandy Thomas (pictured) informing the firm’s global partnership in a conference call last week. Monthly drawings will be reduced by 40% for full equity partners and 15% for fixed share partners. 

A&O defies coronavirus turbulence to lure back New York litigation partner

A&O defies coronavirus turbulence to lure back New York litigation partner

 Allen & Overy has not let market turmoil wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic get in the way of its US recruitment ambitions, having re-hired IP litigation partner Paul Keller from Norton Rose Fulbright in New York. 

The move, announced today (30 March), comes as part of its strategy to accelerate investment into its US business after its failure to merge with O’Melveny & Myers last year. It is the third US hire announced in a week after adding Billy Jacobson and Jonathan Lopez, both veterans of the fraud section of the US Department of Justice, from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in Washington DC.