Freehills employees on Friday received a notice that salaries have been frozen across the firm, and options for flexible work have been extended.
"Firstly, we've introduced the salary freeze and, secondly, we've extended a number of flexible work options that we already had in place that were extended to address the global financial crisis," chief managing partner Gavin Bell told Lawyers Weekly.
Bell said the firm was still travelling well - with revenue close to where it was at this time last year - and that the measures were taken to ultimately protect the firm from further fallout from the crisis.
"The GFC hasn't hit us hard. But we're not immune - we can obviously see what's going on outside," Bell said. "We thought we'd rather anticipate what might happen and be in a position to deal with it proactively as it happened."
Bell confirmed that the freeze would apply to all staff across the firm.
Bell added that the measures would ensure the firm would remain resilient in the face of whatever the future held. "The aim [is] try and protect our intellectual capital and keep our team together, rather than taking other steps," he said.
Freehills employees will also have the option of a career break - meaning they can take time out from the firm for travel, study or family reasons and return to their jobs later - as well as the option to purchase extended leave and also explore other flexible work options that will address changed workloads across the firm.
The announcement was made only on Friday morning, but Bell said the initial reaction to it has been positive. "People understand why we're doing it and they appreciate that we're talking about it and addressing it proactively," he said.
Note: This story was published at 1pm on Friday the 20th March.
- Angela Priestley