Gowling WLG lifts post-Brexit vote pay freeze

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By Thomas Connelly on

International law firm suspended its annual pay review earlier this summer


Gowling WLG appears to have recovered from its case of the post-Brexit jitters, revealing today it has lifted a pay freeze it had imposed on all lawyers and support staff.

In the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union earlier this summer, the firm put its annual salary reviews on hold. Originally scheduled to take place towards the end of June, Gowlings’ bosses fired off an email to staff explaining that discussions regarding pay were off the table until “autumn”.

Now almost two months on, and true to their word, Gowlings has confirmed it will now restart the pay review process. Speaking to The Lawyer (£), Gowling WLG’s co-CEO, David Fennel, confirmed discussion regarding pay increases will restart this week and, as promised, be backdated to the start of July.

At the time of the original pay freeze announcement, the firm did stress that bonuses for the year “were paid as usual” and “all planned summer promotions” went ahead as scheduled.

But Gowlings isn’t alone in its pay review strategy. Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Trowers & Hamlins and Addleshaw Goddard have all taken similar action.

Citing “political and financial uncertainty” BLP was the first City firm to freeze pay after what many considered to be a shock referendum result. In an email to all the firm’s lawyers and staff, BLP managing partner Lisa Mayhew described the decision to freeze pay as the “responsible and prudent thing to do”.

Meanwhile — in a leaked 500-word email — Trowers & Hamlins’ head honcho Jennie Gubbins confirmed the decision on whether or not to increase lawyers’ salaries would be delayed until September, amid fears about “any bumps there may be in the road ahead”.

Finally, Addleshaw Goddard — pointing the finger firmly at Brexit — chose to “defer” pay increases back in August. Stating there had been an “impact on activity levels”, the firm revealed that pay reviews would now take place in “early autumn”. Now that we’re in autumn, it’s over to you Addleshaw.