Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Skadden Pays Lawyers not to Work

Take the day off ... no take the week off ... oh well, just take a year off! Law firms offering a sabbatical?

The New York Times reported on Sunday April 12th that leading New York law firm Skadden Arps. "Looking to cut costs like everyone else, but not prepared to lay off associates, Skadden has chosen instead to offer all of its associates — about 1,300 worldwide — the option of accepting a third of their base pay to not show up for work for a year." Read the full story.

This is definitely NOT a good PR move. First of all, many corporate clients feel that salaries for New York associates are already too high. Paying people not to work goes against the grain of the American work ethic. This sounds similar to the UAW Job Bank, which draws the ire of many auto company critics.

Perhaps if the participating associates were placed in public service type positions with worthy non-profits, the paid leave would be more palatable. Or how about placing them in-house with struggling corporate clients for a 12-month stint?

Hopefully this is one trend that does not gain followers.

1 comment:

john Fakler said...

Interesting item, Margaret. My brother is a non-equity partner at a NY law firm. He and an associate in his department were asked to accept a 20 percent pay cut. They fought it, and wound up accepting a 5 percent cut instead.