Shearman & Sterling signage Shearman & Sterling is offering a voluntary leave program to all staff amid COVID-19. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Firms are taking further steps to combat the financial hits caused by COVID-19, with Shearman & Sterling and Reed Smith the latest to take measures.

Shearman is offering all its global staff and fee-earners sabbaticals on reduced pay, while Reed Smith is set to defer its equity partners’ bonus payments.

Shearman’s voluntary leave program will allow participants to take up between three and six months off work at 30% pay, the firm confirmed on Friday.

The firm will top up participants’ salaries to 40% if they engage in pro bono work during their voluntary leave.

The measure was first reported on Roll on Friday.

Reed Smith, meanwhile, has taken another step amid a slew of recent measures by the firm. It is set to defer its equity partners’ bonuses into two payments, with partners paid half their bonus amount on the scheduled payment date, and the other half three months later.

A Reed Smith spokesperson said in a statement: “Fixed share partner, counsel and associate bonuses will be paid in full and on their regularly scheduled pay dates. Equity partners have agreed to receive half of their bonus amounts on the regularly scheduled payment date and the remaining half three months later.”

The new measure comes on top of several others the firm has implemented since March, including reducing partner distributions and deferring  staff bonuses.

Other firms have also joined the ranks of those taking steps. On Thursday, Travers Smith announced it is deferring its partner distributions.

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