The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bite mid-tier law firms as Dentons, the largest law firm in the world by staff numbers, cuts pay without cutting hours and global immigration firm Fragmogen enrols in the JobKeeper scheme.

These changes will be in place from May-June and the vast majority of staff members have accepted the adjustments.
Dentons Australia chairman and Australasia Region CEO, Doug Stipanicev, said the move was designed to prevent redundancies ahead of anticipated revenue falls in several practice groups.
“We have taken a conservative look at our profit forecast for the coming months, and we believe the approach we have asked our employees to agree to will ensure we can preserve as many jobs as possible, and come out in a strong position on the other side.
Gadens CEO Mark Pistilli says it is not yet clear how long the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 will last. 
He also said the firm had comprehensively consulted staff on the changes, running eight town hall meetings.
National mid-tier firm Gadens is asking staff to accept pay cuts of 20 per cent until the end of September without a commensurate reduction in hours, again with the goal of preventing redundanies.
Those earning under $70,000 will not be subject to cuts and no salary will be reduced to below that level. The firm previously reduced partner income.
The Brisbane division of the Gadens, which operates independently to that of Melbourne and Sydney, has adopted a three-day week for quieter practice groups.
“Overall we are seeing a lower demand for legal services in the market and we are not immune from that,” CEO of Gadens’ Melbourne and Sydney divisions, Mark Pistilli said.
“We will have to wait until the end of April, when we have seen the result of that impact for a full month, to see if we are eligible for JobKeeper.”
Global immigration law firm Fragomen has already signed up to the JobKeeper scheme and registered eligible employees.
This comes as reduced demand sees it cut the hours and pay of most of its Australian staff by 40 per cent from May 1 to October 31 in a bid to avoid stand downs and redundancies.
“As is the case with virtually every firm in Australia, New Zealand and around the world, we are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fragomen ANZ managing partner Teresa Liu said.
Domestic outfit HWL Ebsworth, which is Australia’s largest mid-tier firm, has also registered for the JobKeeper but is yet to enrol in the program.
The firm’s national marketing manager Russell Mailer said it had signed up so it could keep track of developments and protect the firm’s financial interests, but did not yet know if it would need to make any claims.