All of the "big six" law firms have now confirmed salary freezes across their organisations, except for Blake Dawson, which this week said that, despite making 89 redundancies this year, the firm has not needed to freeze pay.
Helen McKenzie, Blakes' deputy managing partner, told Lawyers Weekly that about 30 per cent of its lawyers have received a pay increase since 1 July 2009.
This figure, said McKenzie, factors in promotions (the average increase in lawyer numbers was about 6 per cent), but overall there has been an average drop of 10 to 12 per cent in compensation across the board when factoring in the firm's performance reward program against the backdrop of the economic downturn.
Meanwhile, other "big six" firms confirmed their salary freezes with Lawyers Weekly. Robert Milliner, chief executive partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, said that the firm froze salaries on 1 July 2009 following a nine-month review of market conditions.
Gareth Bennett, director of people and development for Freehills, said it also froze salaries following a review of business and economic conditions towards the end of last year. "Very early on, we looked at what we could do as a business to make ourselves as bulletproof as possible," he said.
Allens Arthur Robinson implemented an across-the-board salary freeze earlier this year, according to staff partner Ross Drinnan. "There were a range of things we looked at," he said. "The decision went hand in hand with other measures to make sure that we were cautious about expenditure."
Clayton Utz previously confirmed a salary freeze and Minter Ellison has said employees will not receive a pay rise this year, except for exceptional performance.
For a report on salary freezes, watch out for Lawyers Weekly's 7 August issue.
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