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DLA Piper amends pay plan

DLA Piper amends pay plan

International firm DLA Piper has backtracked on its previously announced 20 per cent pay cuts following partner and associate consultations over the plan.

INTERNATIONAL firm DLA Piper has backtracked on its previously announced 20 per cent pay cuts following partner and associate consultations over the plan.

A firm wide memo released on Tuesday night has confirmed a 10 per cent reduction for all associates instead. The previously announced cuts would have seen a 10 per cent cut for first-year associates, and case-by-case reductions for associates in other classes based on performance level and class year.

The previous announcement used a formula for salary reductions for non-first-year associates that was a “bright line billable hours-based calculation that did not fully take into account the timing of significant pro bono commitment, firm-related non-billable hours or vacations”, Tuesday’s memo said. 

Many conversations with partners and associates prompted decision makers at the firm to make the change, The National Law Journal, a US publication, reports. But another source, US law blog Above the Law, suggests decision-makers were instead forced into the change by an online outcry.

Above The Law reports the firm’s claims that starting salaries would be reduced to $145,000 were misleading. One tipster said: “That’s not true. A number of first year attorneys were lowered to 128k. There are third years making 136k. Their efforts to cover for there (sic) salary reductions should be given more exposure.”

Another commenter pointed out that the decision was all about billable hours worked. “You could get great performance reviews/ make in excess of your budget for years/ be well regarded/ do pro bono work etc, but still the only thing that was taken into account when cutting salaries was whether you were on pace for the first four months of this year. The published memo does not disclose this. 

“You could be a pretty average associate and happen to have been staffed on a doc review for the first four months or hoarded your work and hey, suddenly you are getting paid more than other associates,” the tipster wrote. 

Online commenters were riled by the fact that first years who received a 10 per cent cut would be making more than second and third year associates who had been slow in the first four months of the year. 

One person suggested redundancies would have been better received. “Maybe they should have done the prestigious thing: fire ten per cent of all associates and claim it was a performance based thingie … but not bother to explain to clients why ten per cent of the firm was just discovered to be f***** up?”




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