Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Reader Polls

ATL Poll Results: Greedy Associates Aren’t THAT Greedy

ATL poll results law firm associate bonus 2006.jpegBefore the holidays, we asked the Biglaw associates among you to tell us how you feel about your bonuses. (We’d use “boni,” since it sounds cooler, but we don’t think it’s a real word.)
We conducted a reader poll. The results, which we realize aren’t terribly exciting, are reproduced at right.
The most popular response, although not by an overwhelming margin, was “Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied.” The rest of the responses formed a bell-shaped curve around that general sentiment of “Eh” (but with slightly more votes on the dissatisfied rather than satisfied side).
What does this all mean? We think it shows that as far as the Greedy Partners are concerned, associate bonuses were “just right.” If they had been “too generous” — from the perspective of partners, that is — there would have been more satisfied responses, from pleasantly surprised associates. And if they had been “too stingy,” in a way threatening to firm morale, there would have been more dissatisfied responses.
Instead, associate sentiment in response to this year’s bonus levels fell right in the middle. This suggests that associate expectations were perfectly met — neither missed nor exceeded. So, as far as the firms are concerned, the 2006 bonuses weren’t so big as to eat into profits per partner, but just enough to keep the associate proletariat toiling away.
Are year-end bonuses the opium of the Biglaw masses?
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: How Does That Bonus Make You FEEL?

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