DLA Piper has furloughed U.K. staff off the back of growing economic pressures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, while Linklaters has suspended partner profit distributions, as law firms continue to take steps to protect their businesses.
Linklaters will not pay out its next partner distribution, due in June, the firm confirmed on Wednesday. It will also defer 50% of its next bonus round pay-out and has pushed back salary reviews by six months.
The firm has frozen all hiring currently, the statement continued, but added that the firm is “not currently” proposing any redundancies as a result of the challenging business environment
It added: “To protect the firm’s cashflows, acting out of caution rather than any immediate concern, we will not be paying the June distribution.”
DLA, meanwhile, confirmed on Wednesday that it has put some of its people in its U.K. property and workplace team on full-paid leave of absence.
A partner at the firm said it is also currently considering reducing or deferring its partner distributions as several other firms have already done.
A DLA spokesperson said in a statement: “Our primary focus is ensuring the well-being of our people while also maintaining a robust business through the pandemic and beyond. Given the nature of their roles, some of our people in our UK property and workplace team are unable to carry out their work so are currently at home while on full pay and benefits. As some of our property and workplace team are still able to work within government guidelines on rotation, our critical services remain fully operational.”
The statement added: “Like all businesses at this time, we are closely monitoring the situation to ensure any decisions, should they become necessary, are made with due consideration and are in the best interests of our people, our clients and our business.”
The firms are among the latest to enact such measures.
Earlier on Wednesday, Eversheds Sutherland announced that it is furloughing 39 staff members and considering changes to its partner distributions across its non-U.S. business as the industry grapples with disruption.
U.K. firm Pinsent Masons furloughed some non-fee-earning staff as well as deferring partner profit distributions on Tuesday, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer confirmed on Monday it has suspended profit distributions. A&O asked partners in March to contribute capital to the business and is gradually reducing its partner profit distributions.