Associate Bonus Watch 2007, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Skaddenfreude

Associate Bonus Watch: Hughes Hubbard and Reed

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgTo respond to yesterday’s question: No, it’s not all over. There’s still some gas left in the associate bonus watch tank.
Last night brought an a bonus announcement from Hughes Hubbard and Reed. It’s a somewhat complicated bonus system, based on a system of “tiers.” A tipster identifies these highlights:

Tier 1 = 1950 hours
Tier 2 = 2100 hours
Not certain about tier 3 or 4
Class of 2004, 2005, and 2006 get $7500 for reaching 1950, plus half of special bonus
No pro-rated bonus for class of 2007

The associates we heard from are unhappy with the bone Old Mother Hubbard has thrown them:

“HHR has managed to make the ‘special bonus’ tied to billable hours. That kind of sucks. Glad to see that they are increasing them for next year though.”

“It is a disappointing day for Hughes Hubbard associates, as bonuses are far below market. Still a great place to work, though.”

You can check out the Hughes Hubbard bonus memo, which announces the firm’s 2007 bonuses as well as its “enhance[d]” bonus system for 2008, after the jump.
Update: In response to the commenters, here’s a note on our methodology. If a firm is on either the Am Law 100 or the Vault 100, we’ll run their bonus announcement. HHR is #85 on the Vault 100.

November 26, 2007
To: DC Associates
Los Angeles Associates
Miami Associates
New Jersey Associates
New York Associates
From: Personnel Committee cc: HHR Partners
Re: 2007 Bonus Program
As we head towards year-end, we thank you for all your work in 2007 on behalf of the Firm and our paying and pro bono clients. Your work has contributed greatly to another successful year. In recognition of these efforts, we will award bonuses for 2007 to those associates who have made significant contributions to the Firm, following the discretionary criteria set out in OPM 404, which you can review on the Firm intranet.
The 2007 bonus has two components. We will apply the four-tiered system we announced this January, repeated below on the chart entitled “Tiered Bonus.” After consultation with the Associates Committee, we have also determined to award a one-time special bonus to those associates who worked at 2,100 hours or more and meet the discretionary criteria, as set forth below on the table entitled “Special Bonus.” Associates who worked at 1,950 hours or more and meet the discretionary criteria will be entitled to one-half of the special bonus for their class.
As before, eligibility for both bonus awards is based on client hours worked, quality of work and client service, intensity of effort, hardship and other discretionary factors.
Tiered Bonus
Class of 2003 and above:
Tier 1: up to $20,000
Tier 2: up to $40,000
Tier 3: up to $60,000
Tier 4: up to $80,000
Class of 2006, 05 and 04:
Tier 1: up to $7,500
Tier 2: up to $15,000
Tier 3: up to $30,000
Tier 4: up to $45,000
Special Bonus
Class of 2001 and above: $50,000
Class of 2002: $40,000
Class of 2003: $30,000
Class of 2004: $20,000
Class of 2005: $15,000
Class of 2006: $10,000
We are also pleased to announce an enhancement to our bonus program for 2008 to increase the amounts available under the four-tiered bonus system, as follows:
Class of 2001 and above:
Tier 1: $32,500
Tier 2: $65,000
Tier 3: $85,000
Tier 4: $105,000
Class of 2002:
Tier 1: $30,000
Tier 2: $60,000
Tier 3: $80,000
Tier 4: $100,000
Class of 2003:
Tier 1: $27,500
Tier 2: $55,000
Tier 3: $75,000
Tier 4: $95,000
Class of 2004
Tier 1: $25,000
Tier 2: $50,000
Tier 3: $70,000
Tier 4: $90,000
Class of 2005:
Tier 1:$22,500
Tier 2: $45,000
Tier 3: $ $60,000
Tier 4: $75,000
Class of 2006:
Tier 1: $20,000
Tier 2: $40,000
Tier 3: $55,000
Tier 4: $ 70,000
Class of 2007:
Tier 1: $17,500
Tier 2: $35,000
Tier 3: $50,000
Tier 4: $65,000
We expect to commence associate performance evaluations in mid-January. Adrian Cockerill will circulate a suggested form of accomplishment summary in the coming weeks. You are encouraged to complete that summary and to include discussion of significant client and pro bono work you have done in 2007.
Please provide a copy of the portion of your accomplishment summary dealing with pro bono work to Vilia Hayes, chair of the Pro Bono Committee. Pursuant to OPM 404, we expect that, as a general rule, associates will perform at least 200 quality G.O. hours. However, on specific recommendation of the Pro Bono Committee in individual cases, hours worked on pro bono matters will be counted in the calculation of billable hours worked without regard to that minimum.
We thank you again for all or your hard work and contributions to the Firm in 2007. We look forward to another good year in 2008.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2007 archives (scroll down)

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