Two months to the day after announcing a series of COVID-19-related cost-cutting measures, including salary reductions, partner payout holds and furloughs, Chicago-founded Katten Muchin Rosenman has decided to make some of those furloughs permanent, a firm representative said.
The firm said it will be enacting a “separation agreement” with many of its furloughed business administration staff, and that the layoffs would not affect any attorneys at any level.
The layoffs begin Aug. 1.
In a statement, the firm said that the success of remote working and the advent of some new internal policies on workflow made some of the furloughed positions redundant, and that the firm was taking action on that data.
“Given this [the success of remote working on workflow] and the realization that our administrative needs are fully supported through new approaches we’ve taken that better fit the remote work model, we have determined that it is in the best interest of the firm to permanently separate from some of our currently furloughed employees as of the end of July. We deeply appreciate the dedication and contributions of these members of the Katten community. This was not an easy decision, but it was necessary in light of the ongoing crisis and our current and anticipated staffing needs.”
Katten said the firm will be offering one week of pay for each year at the firm for those impacted, with a minimum payout of eight weeks. The firm also said that those affected will continue to receive health insurance coverage through the end of the year at no additional cost to the former employee.
The firm said it is structuring these payments so they work in conjunction with the former employee’s unemployment insurance, hoping to maximize the earning potential for those furloughed as they look for financial stability in an unstable job market.
The firm also said it is providing no-cost employment search assistance for those who request it.
A firm representative said that due to the fluid nature of pandemic responses, a statement on whether this would be the last round of austerity measures at the firm was premature.
The firm does continue to hold onto salary reductions from its April 29 announcement, and those (up to 20% for certain high-earning employees) will continue for the foreseeable future.
Equity partners did receive monthly payouts in June, but at a 25% reduction from previous levels. The firm also announced that its summer program will begin on July 13, be completely virtual and last for five weeks.