Akin Gump, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Skaddenfreude

Skaddenfreude: Wachtell Lipton, Akin Gump

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGLast week we broke the news of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz bestowing generous midyear bonuses upon its associates. We heard that associates who graduated law school in the class of 2000 received $40,000, and class of 2002 members received $30,000.
We’ve now learned that class of 2005 associates got $15,000, and class of 2004 associates got $20,000. So our speculation that bonuses increased in increments of $5,000 appears to have been correct.
We raised the possibility that associates more senior than the class of 2000 might have received bonuses reflecting jumps larger than $5K. This appears not to have been the case. Rumor has it that bonuses topped out at $50,000 for the most senior class of associates (class of 1998, up for partnership this November). So presumably class of 1999 members, up for partnership next November, received $45,000.
Congratulations to the Wachtell Lipton associates on their good fortune. Their midyear bonuses are delicious — but they sure worked hard for them. And they do bode well for year-end bonuses at both WLRK and other top New York firms (which, even if they don’t compete directly with Wachtell in terms of pay, can’t embarrass themselves too much on the compensation front).
Meanwhile, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld has decided to spread around part of the $58.5 million fee it received for a $468 million settlement of a lawsuit against a medical equipment company. Akin Gump is paying out 14 percent of the award, amounting to over $8 million, to non-partner employees of the firm (including associates and secretaries).
New arrivals at Akin Gump will get $500, and anyone on the payroll before January will get $1,000. So the largesse won’t reach Wachtell Lipton levels; but it’s a perfect chunk of money for a mini-shopping spree. One can get a pretty decent handbag, or an entry-level Hugo Boss suit, for about a grand.
(Oops, sorry — just like Oprah, we forgot about taxes. But hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.)
Sharing a Class-Action Fee at Akin Gump [Washington Post via WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Wachtell Lipton’s “Midyear Bonuses”

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