NYC Firm Pays Lawyers for Not Going to Work

Cost-cutting measure gives employees $80K for taking a year off
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2009 8:34 AM CDT
A young monk rescues a book and walks through the ruins of a Buddhist temple in Kahawa, Sri Lanka. One New York lawyer plans to travel to Sri Lanka to teach monks English.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Amid nationwide layoffs and salary freezes, how could a New York law firm justify paying some of its employees $80,000 to stay away from the office? It makes more sense when you know that the lawyers usually make three times that: The partners have found a way to cut costs without (permanently) losing talent, the New York Times reports.

So far, about 10% of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s 1,300 associates worldwide have opted to take a break from the grind at the notoriously tough firm. Though the rules don’t stipulate it, most plan to do pro bono work—everywhere from Manhattan to Nepal. And best of all, those on their cut-rate furlough year are immune from layoffs.