Dechert has confirmed to The Am Law Daily that the firm's 36 highest-paid partners have agreed to take a cut in their annual draw.
The news follows a Philadelphia Inquirer report that firm Chairman Barton Winokur would take a $1 million pay cut.
The Inky cited an anonymous source who said Winokur disclosed the "self-imposed" pay cut at a conference of law firm leaders he attended late last month in Pebble Beach, Calif. The event was sponsored by consulting firm Hildebrandt International, a division of Thomson Reuters.
Winokur declined to comment to The Am Law Daily on the Inquirer report. A firm spokeswoman confirms that Winokur, along wth 36 other Dechert partners, are taking pay cuts. The spokeswoman denies that Winokur's reduction amounts to $1 million.
In a 2007 feature story about Dechert, The American Lawyer's Julie Triedman reported that Winokur, private equity practice chair G. Daniel O'Donnell, and litigation partners Robert Heim and Andrew Levander were the firm's top earners, each at nearly $8 million per year.
Dechert disputed the number after the story was published; The American Lawyer stands by the figure. Triedman also reported that junior equity partners earn closer to $800,000 per year.
The current partner pay cuts are based on a percentage of each partner's annual draw, the spokeswoman says, declining to detail those percentages. Depending on the firm's performance over the next few months, partners could recoup that money in bonuses at the end of this year.
The pay cuts aren't the only cost-saving measures that have occurred at the firm in recent months.
Dechert announced a fifth round of layoffs in March, eliminating 125 attorneys and staff members worldwide.
According to Am Law 100 financial data, revenues for the firm fell 2 percent last year to $816 million and profits per equity partner dropped 9 percent from $2.35 million in 2007 to $2.14 million in 2008.
The number of equity partners also fell from 163 to 152 last year, with the total number of lawyers employed by Dechert coming in at slightly under 900. The firm has prepaid about $29 million in expenses -- such as rent for office space -- so far this year. Dechert carries no debt.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.