Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced Monday it would freeze salaries for its nearly 670 associates, according to Law.com. The law firm cited the current challenging business environment.

The published report said that in a memo sent out yesterday, the firm announced that associates in the United States, Europe and Asia will receive the same salary in 2009 as they did this year. Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter said that the decision is part of an effort by Orrick to adapt to the significantly changed business environment that the market will be operating in 2009.

According to the published report, the memo did not directly refer to what would happen to equity and nonequity partner compensation in 2009, althought it added that   a spokesman said that partner compensation is impacted by the law firm's economic performance. In 2007, profits per partner at Orrick hit $1.66 million, which  increased 16%, said Law.com.

Despite the announced salary freeze, Orrick told associates that it will still pay out 2008 bonuses in February as it previously promised. Associates learned in June that bonuses would range from $25,000 to $85,000.

In November, Orrick laid off a total of 40 lawyers in its real estate, structured finance, and corporate practices, as well as 35 staff members, according to the published report

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