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

Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis’s Non-Announcement

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWhere have all the bonus announcements gone? Have firms stopped issuing them? Or have you stopped sending them to us? For information about the many ways you can submit bonus memos to us, see here.
In the meantime, we bring you another bonus non-announcement, similar to those previously issued by Kirkland & Ellis and McDermott Will & Emery. This one is from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Check it out, after the jump.

Update: Originally we posted an excerpt from the memo. Shortly after we put up our post, we received the whole thing. Here it is, in its entirety.

From: Michelle Martin [Legal Personnel Partner] and J. Gordon Cooney [Chair of the Legal Personnel Committee]

Re: Year-End Evaluation Process and Attorney Compensation System

Date: November 12, 2007

We hope that the new fiscal year is off to a good start for you and want to thank you for your hard work last year. As we begin a new year and come to the heart of the annual Year-End Evaluation Process, we thought it would be helpful to review some of the changes in the compensation system occurring over the past year and to answer questions a number of you have raised in recent weeks.

First, as you know, we increased attorney compensation in certain of our domestic offices last February and again in June in response to market developments. Although we did not make adjustments in all offices, we will take the overall increases into account when making individual year-end compensation decisions in those offices.

Second, in those offices where we announced base-compensation increases (i.e., the California, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington D.C. offices), we also formalized and announced what at the time was already a practical reality — that the target for our Of Counsel and Assoicates in those offices for FY 2007 and beyond would be 2,000 billable hours (including pro bono hours). In those offices where we did not adjust base compensation in June (i.e., the Dallas, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Princeton offices), the target for FY 2007 remained 1,975 billable hours, but will be 2,000 billable hours for FY 2008. An Of Counsel or Associate must meet the Firm’s billable hours target to be considered for a performance bonus at the end of the year. Because most of our Of Counsel and Associates generally meet or exceed 2,000 hours, this change should impact very few of you.

We believe that satisfying this benchmark should not be a goal unto itself. The nature of our practices and our commitment to client service make it impossible to calibrate one’s professionalism to produce a billable year that ends neatly once a “target” has been achieved. Cases, transactions and other matters have their own pace and pulse, and serving our clients when and as they need us is the very essence of professionalism generally, and of the Morgan Lewis culture specifically.

Third, a number of you have inquired about the timing of this year’s bonuses and the amounts to be awarded. The Firm will continue to pay performance bonuses at the end of December. Individual bonus awards will be determined during the next several weeks and again will be based on the quality of an attorney’s work, his or her level of industry, achievement of outstanding results, personal sacrifices on behalf of the Firm or its clients, Firm citizenship, and prevailing market conditions.

We realize that FY 2007 was a year of many changes in the compensation area, and we appreciate the constructive manner in which so many of you approached the discussion. We encourage you to contact us, any other member of the Legal Personnel Committee or your local Practice Group Leader if you have any questions or would like to discuss these matters further.

J.G.C., Jr.

Our tipster’s take:

This means two things: (1) there will be no MLB bonus memo, and therefore they will not match bonuses levels in New York or anywhere else; and (2) most or all associates can expect to get screwed (again) with respect to bonuses.

We’re guessing this didn’t satiate your appetite for bonus news. Well, join the club. This is why it’s so important for you to contact us as soon as you do have real news to report. Thanks.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: An Open Call for News and Memos

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