A month and a half ago, Husch Blackwell laid off a number of employees. At the time, Husch Blackwell’s chairman Dave Fenley refused to use the term “layoffs.” Instead, he said:
He said that Husch Blackwell was “going gangbusters” in certain areas and was meeting its numbers this year, “which is pleasantly surprising.”
Later, Fenley admitted that the gangbusters comment was “boneheaded,” but he also said:
These [layoffs] would’ve occurred “regardless of the economy” but the “economy reminded us” that it needed to be done.
But the latest news out of Husch is hard to reconcile with a firm doing well despite the difficult economy. Details after the jump.
Yesterday, Above the Law received reports that Husch Blackwell has decided to cut associate salaries. A tipster remarks:
Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP has rolled back all starting salaries to 2007 levels. Doesn’t this seem a bit inconsistent with the Dave Fenley’s previous statement that the firm was “going gangbusters” in certain areas and that previous “layoffs” (a term of art according to Fenley) were unrelated to the economy?
Maybe the terrible economy just “reminded” Fenley that the firm could get away with reducing associate compensation. It’s not like disgruntled associates can easily leave for greener pastures. At least not yet.
The cuts will be between 5% and 10% according to multiple sources. Tipsters report that the cuts should be a little bit less deep at Husch, because the firm didn’t fully embrace raising salaries in the first place.
We can’t wait to hear how the firm characterizes this salary cut.