British Law Firms Return Furlough Money To The Government

Law firms like Donich Law fared surprisingly well during the pandemic because lawyers were able to work remotely and interact with clients virtually. Law firms were able to reduce their discretionary spending on non-essential items. Most lawyers embraced technology like video conferencing software and cloud technology.

In the United Kingdom, several law firms returned their furlough cash to the British government after experiencing stronger than expected business during the coronavirus pandemic. Square Mile-based law firms that include Norton Rose Fulbright, Osborne Clark and Herbert Smith Freehills paid back all the back-wage subsidies provided by the chancellor following the strong demand for legal services during the crisis.

A furlough scheme was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak during the nationwide lockdown in March. Government support has initially covered at least 80% of the wages of employees who were unable to work during the pandemic.

A great majority of the UK’s biggest law firms have furloughed business support and office-based staff but decided not to rely on state support to provide wages to lawyers. Herbert Smith Freehills that employs about 5,000 people across the world has repaid the money given by HMRC in July. Furloughed workers were able to return to work earlier than expected because business performance was stronger than initially anticipated.

According to Rey Berg, managing partner of Osborne Clark, the law firm has brought back 116 furloughed members of the staff last August after finding out that the half-year results were better than initially feared. Meanwhile, Norton Rose Fulbright has also repaid the furlough money that was intended to support the UK-based sectaries and business support staff.

Of the total £35.4 billion furlough cash that was given to businesses in the UK, about £215 million has been returned since the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from major law firms, large housebuilders have already returned the furlough money which they received during the pandemic.

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