find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Dechert partners impose own pay cuts

Dechert partners impose own pay cuts

MORE than 30 partners at one of the US's biggest law firms have agreed to take pay cuts as the global financial crisis worsens.

MORE than 30 partners at one of the US’s biggest law firms have agreed to take pay cuts as the global financial crisis worsens.

International law firm, Dechert, has confirmed that 36 of its highest-paid partners at the Philadelphia-based office have agreed to take a cut in salaries, the AM Law Daily reports.  

The news follows a Philadelphia Inquirer report that firm’s chairman, Barton Winokur, would take a $1 million pay cut. 

Winokur disclosed the self-imposed pay cut, actually a reduction in his draw from firm profits in late April. In 2007 The American Lawyer reported that the firm's highest-paid partners, Winokur included, had earned nearly $8m the year before, while the firm’s per-partner profits average more than $2m. 

In recent months Dechert has taken a number of cost-cutting steps to safeguard itself against further market mayhem.

Winokur declined to comment to media about the pay cut, but a firm spokeswoman confirmed that Winokur, along with 36 other Dechert partners, were taking pay cuts. The current partner pay cuts are based on a percentage of each partner's annual draw, the spokeswoman said, 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.

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 two per cent last year to $816m and profits per equity partner dropped 9 percent from $2.35m in 2007 to $2.14m in 2008.

In 2006 Dechert's revenues grew faster than all but a few firms that scored big contingency fees or had a merger. Profits per partner hit $1.99m, just a tick below the top Wall Street players and the firm showed above-average growth rates in revenue per lawyer and value per lawyer.

Dechert's formula for success has been to raise rates aggressively, expand head count while tightening up the equity partnership, focus on a few core practice areas, and grow the ranks in London, where the firm has 121 lawyers, and New York, home to 223 more. 

Partners credit Winokur, 69, for much of the firm’s growth. Winokur helped sell partners on a five-year plan to mold the firm into a more profitable one in 2001 and has worked to keep the equity partners focused on those goals. 

However, the global financial crisis was not in that plan and in the past year the number of equity partners has fallen from 163 to 152 last year, with the total number of lawyers employed by Dechert coming down to slightly under 900. 

Addressing the changing economic conditions has also seen the firm prepay about $29m in expenses, such as rent for office space, so far this year. However, unlike other firms, Dechert carries no debt and in a sign of optimism recently expanded its operations to Moscow, opening a new office there. 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Dechert partners impose own pay cuts
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...