Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: The Sidley Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

stack of bills cash money.jpgWe can’t take credit for the title of this post. Here’s an excerpt from an email we received with the subject heading, “Sidley Grinch”:

Sidley matched in New York, but the great story for them is the big f*** you they sent to associates in other offices. Not only did Sidley give associates in non-NY offices nearly half the bonus money, but they made sure everyone knows that they received less. And they try to make it seem like they were so generous last year that there was no reason to increase bonuses this year (don’t buy the “we just got started at 20k” b.s.).

The best part is that associates in the New York office had a lower hours requirement, too. Non-NY associates were strictly cut out of the bonus trough if they didn’t make 2,000 hours. New York associates could get a bonus if they worked 1,800. A great Christmas gift.

The memo, after the jump.

TO: All Associates – Domestic Offices
FROM: The Management Committee
RE: Associate Bonuses
Tomorrow, the Firm will begin distributing year-end bonuses to our associates. This is an occasion for us to recognize and reward your extraordinary contributions to the continued success of the Firm. Our partners are extremely proud and appreciative to have worked with you during the past year in providing the highest quality professional service to our clients.
Last year we announced substantial increases in bonuses at all levels of seniority and contribution. This year we are pleased to announce that, for associates with 2,000 qualifying hours, we have continued last year’s approach to bonuses and in most classes we have increased bonuses above the amounts paid in 2005. Associates in the class of 2005 who had 2,000 qualifying hours (under the same standards applied in recent years) have received bonuses starting at $20,000. In the more senior classes, bonuses ranged as high as $100,000 for exceptionally high hours and quality of performance.
The starting point for New York bonuses continues to take into account overall compensation differences in the New York market, so that New York associates who had 2,000 qualifying hours at the Firm’s expected level of quality received, at a minimum, bonuses that ranged from $35,000 in the class of 2005 to $65,000 in the most senior class (and lesser bonuses were available between 1,800 and 2,000 hours).
Bonuses continue to be determined on an individual basis and, consistent with our culture and practice, will be communicated privately. All bonuses remain discretionary, and no description of the factors considered could be exhaustive. As in recent years, however, we considered each associate’s chargeable, pro bono, non-chargeable and legal services to the Firm hours, quality of work, and other special contributions to the Firm. Although hours continue to be the primary consideration in setting bonuses, quality of work is the most important factor in evaluating overall performance and is the principal determinant of long-term success at the Firm.
For all our partners, we thank you for your professionalism and dedication to making this Firm an exceptional place to practice law. Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)

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