The holiday season is pretty much over, and bonus season kinda is, too. But it’s not completely over, so we’ll still bring you occasional updates on news that comes across our desk. If you have information to share, please email us (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”).
While placing info in the comments is helpful, comments aren’t subject to verification and follow-up in the same way as emails. Also, due to sheer volume, we can’t (and don’t) read every last comment. So email is still the best way to send us bonus info (or request that we cover a given topic).
Here are some associate bonus odds and ends:
1. Quinn Emanuel: Lots of unhappy campers. The upshot is that they employed a very bright-line 2100 hours cutoff to get the full bonus. More details, after the jump.
2. Fish & Richardson: They announced a new compensation plan back in November. It didn’t go over so well. To their credit, they seem to be reversing themselves (for the most part; look out for a higher hours requirement). More details, after the jump.
3. Covington & Burling (New York): We previously reported on their special bonuses, which matched market. In case you were wondering, they’re also paying the standard year-end bonuses (in New York).
4. Bracewell & Giuliani (New York): We haven’t written much about them before. But since name partner Rudy Giuliani is in the news a lot lately, thanks to his presidential bid, and some folks were kind enough to send their memo our way, we provide their bonus announcement after the jump.
5. Kasowitz Benson: We also haven’t written much about Kasowitz Benson before. It’s a very profitable shop, and a bit on the secretive side. Since several people passed along their bonus memo, though, we’re happy to post it after the jump.
QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART OLIVER & HEDGES
One source sums it up this way: “Quinn really screwed over their associates.”
Multiple tipsters tell us that the hours cutoff for full bonus this year was 2100 hours. Anyone falling short of that number received half of the $35,000 regular bonus — even people who missed the mark by fewer than 50 hours.
Of course, this problem will exist with any billable hours requirement. But at QE there’s an issue of notice. One source writes:
“The cutoff last year was 2,000 hours, and Quinn doesn’t communicate the cutoff prior to the end of the year. So there appear to be many people that thought they were OK, only to receive a check for half of what they expected.”
“Quinn always claims to be top of the market in compensation. This 2,100-hour, all-or-nothing (or half?) approach puts them well below top of the market.”
From another tipster:
“Nobody knew about the 2100 requirement. In last year’s state of the firm, John Quinn specifically said that anyone that billed over 2000 hrs (for 2006) got the full bonus. And he specifically said that this includes pro bono hours. So, everyone was getting ready for the holiday party on 12/21, which was also the day bonus checks were handed out, and A LOT of associates got a check for half of what they expected.”
“And get this – [many of the victims] had good reviews. It had nothing to do with performance, rather it was strictly numbers-based on a number about which nobody was aware.”
A bitterly funny observation: “I guess we know how they financed the Utah retreat!”
FISH AND RICHARDSON
“You’ve probably already heard, but [yesterday] at a firm-wide meeting here at Fish & Richardson, the firm returned our associate salaries to the standard NY scale (after changing them this past fall). Also, the bonus schedule will adjusted so that the bonuses are much higher than they were before for 2000 hours.”
“There is no memo, but Fish and Richardson announced [yesterday] that they were reversing the last salary decision, and we are back were we started. Supposedly bonuses are going to be tied to a higher hourly requirement, though.”
COVINGTON & BURLING
The management committee has approved the following maximum regular bonus amounts for New York associates, payable on the last day of January:
Class of 2007 – $35,000 (pro-rated)
Class of 2006 – $35,000
Class of 2005 – $40,000
Class of 2004 – $45,000
Class of 2003 – $50,000
Class of 2002 – $55,000
Class of 2001 – $60,000
Class of 2000 – $65,000
Class of 1999 – $65,000
Class of 1998 – $65,000
Thanks for all of the hard work, and Happy New Year!
Philipp Tamussino and David Haller
BRACEWELL & GIULIANI
A prefatory comment from our source: “Although not included in this email, base compensation and bonuses for Bracewell’s NY office has historically followed NY market and is announced in February, in connection with the firm’s associate evaluation process.”
From: Dennison, Lisa On Behalf Of Oxford, Patrick
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 12:59 PM
To: Associates – New York
Cc: Partners – New York
Subject: Happy New Year
Good afternoon, and happy new year to you and yours.
You may be interested in knowing that your Management Committee has approved special, one-time bonuses to be paid to New York associates for their efforts in 2007 to be paid February of ’08 and which will be in addition to base compensation and bonuses.
You might anticipate that the special bonuses will be paid as follows:
The Special Bonuses are as follows:
Class Special Bonus
These special bonuses will be awarded as a result of the Associate Evaluation Process and will be paid to those associates who are meeting the firm’s expectations as reviewed by the Associate Evaluation Committee. Bonuses will be pro-rated for those associates who started during 2007. All bonuses, including this special bonus, will be paid in February 2008.
The firm appreciates your great work and continued contribution to the growth of the New York office and the firm.
All the best.
KASOWITZ BENSON TORRES & FRIEDMAN
From: Maureen Galligan
To: NYC – Associates
CC: NYC – Partners
Sent: Fri Dec 21 15:18:44 2007
M E M O R A N D U M
December 21, 2007
TO: New York Associates/Special Counsel
FROM: Marc E. Kasowitz
CC: New York Partners
The Firm is pleased to announce that we will be paying year-end and
special bonuses to New York associates and special counsel as follows:
Class of 2007: Year-end bonus of $35,000 (prorated)
Class of 2006: Year-end bonus of $35,000; special bonus of $10,000
Class of 2005: Year-end bonus of $40,000; special bonus of $15,000
Class of 2004: Year-end bonus of $45,000; special bonus of $20,000
Class of 2003: Year-end bonus of $50,000; special bonus of $30,000
Class of 2002: Year-end bonus of $55,000; special bonus of $40,000
Class of 2001: Year-end bonus of $60,000; special bonus of $50,000
Class of 2000: Year-end bonus of $65,000; special bonus of $50,000
Class of 1999 and above and special counsel: determined on an
As in prior years, the above are benchmark amounts which
are subject to adjustment to reflect individual performance factors and
bonuses will be pro-rated to reflect part-time arrangements and lengths
of service of less than the entire year.
Year-end bonuses will be paid to eligible attorneys in good
standing by the end of January 2008. Special bonuses will be paid to
eligible associates in good standing by the end of June 2008. We
expect to distribute individual bonus amount notices to attorneys during the
first week of January 2008.
Thank you again for your dedication, hard work and