Freehills staff have been told today that although their firm's profits are expected to drop this financial year, they will still be invited to participate in two salary reviews in 2010 with bonuses also expected to be addressed halfway through the calendar year.
According to the email sent by Freehills CEO Gavin Bell, and acquired by Lawyers Weekly today, the firm has seen "commercial recovery in the marketplace" and will, against this backdrop, conduct a salary review in March 2010, and later again in June.
Bell wrote today that partner profits are expected to drop this financial year, but that if by June 2010 the firm is performing well and profit is above that of the 2008/9 financial year, then this will be shared across staff in an equitable way.
A firm wide salary freeze has been in place at Freehills since March 2009, when Bell told staff that the firm had not been hit hard by the GFC but that he would "rather anticipate what might happen and be in a position to deal with it proactively as it happened".
Bell stated today that the imposed salary freeze was a difficult decision the firm made to protect jobs during the economic downturn and that "we always intended to regularly review this position and lift the freeze as soon as it became sensible to do so".
He said the two salary reviews will allow for the firm to take account of any change in performance and external market factors, and noted that the purpose of both reviews will be to reward according to individual performance as well as market rates, budgetary guidelines, firm performance and business/economic factors.
The news comes after Mallesons last week confirmed a firm-wide bonus based on a percentage of each staff members salary - after previously imposing a firm-wide salary freeze in May.