The latest bonus news comes from Kirkland & Ellis. Like Wachtell, K&E is sui generis. Kirkland associate bonuses are individualized, rather than lockstep by class, so they’re harder to get a handle on.
As alluded to by this comment, there’s a Magic Table — closely guarded, not even seen by the firm’s (non-share) partners — setting forth the various bonus ranges. The range that you fall into depends upon your seniority, your hours billed, and your rating — below class, with class, above class, etc.
For more details, check out this comprehensive explanation (courtesy of generic fungible item).
Some ballpark figures have been appearing on the message boards. And the numbers, if true, look good for K&E associates. A general observation from the detailed summary:
It seems this year that an average-billing junior associate [at Kirkland & Ellis] gets about $10-15K over market (the firm’s billable-hours average is about 2050). An average-billing midlevel-to-senior associate gets at least $20K-$30K over market. [T]he precise accuracy of numbers is hard to verify as it is based on a collection of data points and not the full grid.
The Kirkland system raises this question: Unless you’re a slacker, is an individualized system better than a lockstep one? Consider this pithy comment: “Kill lockstep. Firms use it to play off of our fears of getting screwed royally, and instead screw us regularly.”
If you can enlighten us further on K&E bonuses — or if you have a bootleg copy of the Magic Table — please email us, or append a comment.
Kirkland Bonus System Explained [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
Kirkland rocks [Infirmation / Greedy Chicago]