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Clifford Chance defers partner profits and freezes salary reviews in wake of virus

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Follows similar financial measures by magic circle counterparts

Clifford Chance has taken a number of steps to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, including deferring partner distributions and freezing salary reviews.

The magic circle giant confirmed it will be paying staff bonuses, although some may be delayed. It is not planning on furloughing staff.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We are a strong and resilient organisation, with over five years of robust global growth behind us. Our teams are always a source of huge pride, they are fantastically talented, motivated and collaborative, and never more so since the virus has begun to spread.”

They added:

“Over the coming months our aim is to keep these teams together and to work shoulder to shoulder with our clients who need our support now more than ever.”

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Clifford Chance becomes the final member of the magic circle to go public with its financial measures in response to the pandemic.

Linklaters suspended partner profit distributions and delayed salary reviews earlier this month, while Allen & Overy made “adjustments” to partner payouts, froze salaries and deferred some bonuses.

Freshfields has taken similar steps, freezing pay across the firm and suspending its latest quarterly partner distributions. Slaughter and May, meanwhile, revealed that all discretionary distributions to partners had been suspended with the money “being retained in the business”.

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