International firm Reed Smith has announced plans to lay off lawyers and staff in its London office, citing the ‘prolonged economic uncertainty’ caused by the pandemic. Pay cuts, shorter weeks and furloughing will also be introduced.

The firm has started a ‘targeted redundancy process’ in London, its biggest office, which will affect a ‘small number’ of lawyers and business staff. It has also introduced an array of pay cuts, announcing compensation reductions of 14% for fixed share partners, 12.5% for counsel and 12% for associates.

Most professional assistants will move to a four-day week – taking an equivalent cut in pay – and professional staff earning more than $100,000 will see their salaries cut by 6% on an annualized basis. Some employees will also be furloughed.

Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s global managing partner, said: ‘Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, our priorities have always been to protect the health and wellbeing of our people, to safeguard jobs wherever possible, to provide the highest quality service to our clients, and to manage the firm prudently.

‘As a result of the prolonged economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to take further actions to ensure our business emerges from the pandemic in a position of strength.’

The firm said it expects most of the measures to be temporary.