After saying nice things about top Texas firms yesterday, our inbox was flooded today with news of a salary freeze at Fulbright & Jaworski.
As we understand it, the firm is only freezing salaries through the first quarter of 2009, so it’s a Slurpee freeze.
So much for Texas being the beacon of hope for the legal industry.
But, perhaps more surprisingly, Perkins Coie is also freezing salaries:
The 2009 economic picture remains extremely uncertain. Although we continue to have no debt and the firm is in excellent financial shape, we have determined to take a number of significant steps to ensure the firm’s financial health in 2009 for the benefit of all personnel.
The firm’s budget contemplates approximately a 10% reduction in average partner income in 2009, and partner draw percentages for January and February were significantly reduced in order to avoid any need to borrow funds. We have also frozen salaries for senior administrative staff who are evaluated on a calendar year basis. Most staff have salary adjustments on July 1 and no decision will be made on compensation adjustments applicable to them until that time.
We have also decided to hold associates at their current base salary levels. Associates will remain at their 2008 base salary for 2009, subject to two limited exceptions. Adjustments will be made to productivity build-ins for affected associates in the Bellevue, Seattle and Washington, DC offices, and changes will be made to address a few unique compensation arrangements previously scheduled for adjustment in 2009. New compensation memos will be distributed within the next few weeks.
I guess having partners that are tight with Obama isn’t enough to stave off a “solid ice” freeze. So much for unicorns.
But, after the jump, some positive news to report.
This seems like a good time to mention the obvious. The salary freeze phenomenon is a trend being carried out by only a few firms. Skadden, Cravath, Cleary, Gibson, and countless other firms — literally more than we can credibly name without missing anybody — are not freezing salaries. Top firms are still raising salaries based on seniority.
We’ll keep up with the pay freeze watch, but the majority of Biglaw firms are acting like Schulte and paying class appropriate raises just like they’ve always done.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of salary freezes