Salary Cuts, Salary Freeze

Bryan Cave: Set for the Dreaded Double Freeze?

Bryan Cave logo.jpgWay back in November 2008, Bryan Cave became one of the first firms to freeze associate salaries. At the time, the firm said that it was only delaying its planned salary increase by three months. But firms said a lot of things back in 2008 that proved unworkable in 2009.
A tipster reports that the freeze is on again at Bryan Cave for 2010. The firm hasn’t made a formal announcement about it or issued an internal memo, nor has it responded to our multiple requests for comment. But a few people have been informed internally that the freeze is on again for 2010 — and we have not heard from anyone who has had a pay raise so far in the new year. If you have additional information on how widely this “no pay raise” message has been disseminated, let us know at tips@abovethelaw.com.
UPDATE: Although there was no memo, there were meetings at which a continued salary freeze was announced.
But that’s not all. If you look at the full scope of Bryan Cave’s actions, the firm appears to be in some very special company.


In early November 2008, Bryan Cave acquired Powell Goldstein. There’s been a steady stream of bad news from the firm since then. As I mentioned above, the firm froze salaries soon after the merger. Then, in February 2009, the firm laid off 58 attorneys (and 76 staff). In April, legacy PoGo partners were still fleeing the firm. In June, Bryan Cave buttressed its salary freeze with an outright 10% salary cut across the board. And in September the firm offered $70,000 to its incoming associates to go away and not show up for work.
If Bryan Cave doesn’t make raises in 2010, it will be the rare Biglaw firm to freeze salaries, cut salaries, and then freeze them again. As I’ve explained before, this would leave third years at Bryan Cave making less than they were as first years — to say nothing of how depressed their salaries will be when compared to peers in their same class year at other firms. One imagines that Bryan Cave didn’t go out and acquire another firm during the recession expecting it come to this?
But again, it could just be that Bryan Cave hasn’t gotten around to announcing a pay raise. Maybe the firm was trying to stay under the radar and sneak in a couple of more weeks of depressed payroll?
UPDATE: Although there was no memo, there were meetings at which a continued salary freeze was announced.
We understand that the firm has told some associates that it is “continuing to monitor the situation,” so perhaps a raise might eventually appear. As more Bryan Cave associates realize what is happening to them compared to their peers, BC might feel some pressure to at least make a one year class raise.
Earlier: Bryan Cave Delays Associate Pay Raise By Three Months
Bryan Cave & Powell Goldstein ‘Officially’ Announce Merger
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Bryan Cave’s Official Statement
Musical Chairs: Ex-PoGo Partners Go
Nationwide Salary Cut Watch: Bryan Cave(s) to the Salary Cut Phenomenon
Bryan Cave Offers Incoming Associates ‘Go Away’ Money

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