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

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.  Continue reading “US worst hit as Cadwalader becomes latest firm to respond to Covid-19 with pay cuts”

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

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.   Continue reading “A&O takes coronavirus threat to task with raft of belt-tightening measures”

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. Continue reading “Ashurst launches consulting arm to handle Covid-19 demand with Deloitte partner hire”

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

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.  Continue reading “Coronavirus latest: Reed Smith to limit partner drawings as firms start to bunker in for the crisis”

Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package

Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package

Junior barristers have heavily criticised the government’s self-employed support package as ‘woefully insufficient’ while imploring the Bar Council to address ‘urgent and serious concerns’ about the scheme.

The open letter, published today (30 March), says the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme announced last Thursday neglects newly-qualified barristers as it does not provide financial aid to those without 2018/19 self-employed tax returns that accurately reflect their current earnings. Continue reading “Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package”

Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance

Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance

Forbearance is something of a dirty word in UK financial regulation, at least with regulators themselves. It describes a situation where watchdogs voluntarily exercise their discretion not to enforce rules or other requirements on the regulated. And that’s why they don’t like it – no regulator has ever prospered by giving its industry a free pass. Long-term pain for the regulator will outweigh any short-term gain to the industry as a whole.

Even so, you’d be forgiven for thinking the coronavirus crisis presents an ideal breeding ground for regulatory forbearance: a world-wide pandemic with seismic economic effects, stock markets tumbling, staff working remotely, and huge potential consumer detriment lurking around every corner. Continue reading “Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance”

The domino effect – restructuring counsel brace for deluge as Covid-19 means no more business as usual

The domino effect – restructuring counsel brace for deluge as Covid-19 means no more business as usual

‘Even two weeks ago no-one predicted such a catastrophic impact from the coronavirus. Things have turned very quickly.’ This City restructuring partner’s words carry some irony, given that the restructuring and insolvency community has for years waited in vain for a sequel to the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

However, the trigger event in this disaster – the global spread of the coronavirus of which there are so far more than 500,000 confirmed cases around the world resulting in well over 20,000 deaths – is a crisis of the unknown. It has left restructuring lawyers reeling along with peers as everyone hunkers down through an indefinite lockdown. Continue reading “The domino effect – restructuring counsel brace for deluge as Covid-19 means no more business as usual”