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

Associate Bonus Watch: Some Updates

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe don’t really have any major bonus news to pass along. Here are a few items following up on previously reported developments:
1. Latham & Watkins: On Friday we reported on the LW bonuses, which were well-received by associates. We now have more detailed information, which appears after the jump.
2. McDermott Will & Emery: We wrote here about their decision to issue supplemental bonuses. Those bonuses have now been paid, and people are happy. More details after the jump.
3. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: As previously reported, the bonus situation over there is rather vague. An addendum, also after the jump.


1. Latham & Watkins
2007 Bonuses
Class Base Median Average Top
1999 $50,000 $92,500 $95,209 $125,000
2000 $50,000 $90,500 $88,301 $133,500
2001 $50,000 $72,500 $75,149 $120,500
2002 $47,500 $63,500 $68,804 $102,500
2003 $45,500 $57,000 $56,985 $90,000
2004 $42,500 $50,000 $52,172 $78,500
2005 $40,000 $42,500 $43,453 $69,000
2006 $35,000 $37,500 $38,850 $63,500
Distribution of 2007 Bonuses
LoRange HiRange 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total
$130,000 $135,000 – 2 – – – – – – 2
$125,000 $129,999 1 – – – – – – – 1
$120,000 $124,999 4 1 1 – – – – – 6
$115,000 $119,999 4 5 2 – – – – – 11
$110,000 $114,999 4 5 3 – – – – – 12
$105,000 $109,999 – 3 2 – – – – – 5
$100,000 $104,999 2 2 1 2 – – – – 7
$95,000 $99,999 3 10 9 7 – – – – 29
$90,000 $94,999 2 7 1 2 1 – – – 13
$85,000 $89,999 1 4 4 1 2 – – – 12
$80,000 $84,999 11 5 4 7 3 – – – 30
$75,000 $79,999 – 6 8 3 1 2 – – 20
$70,000 $74,999 1 5 10 3 13 8 – – 40
$65,000 $69,999 1 2 6 3 4 10 1 – 27
$60,000 $64,999 2 5 12 9 6 1 5 1 41
$55,000 $59,999 1 4 3 12 18 14 12 – 64
$50,000 $54,999 – 3 7 6 15 32 9 13 85
$45,000 $49,999 – – 1 1 12 36 41 5 96
$40,000 $44,999 – – 1 1 2 11 114 38 167
$35,000 $39,999 – – 1 1 3 4 10 88 107
$30,000 $34,999 – – – 2 1 – 1 6 10
[11 more between $0-$25K]
Totals 37 69 77 60 84 119 197 153 796
2. McDermott Will & Emery
“MWE announced their supplemental bonuses on Friday. The general impression is that the total bonuses paid (the initial bonuses in December and the supplementals) exceeded last year’s bonus levels and met or generally exceeded the New York regular annual bonus levels. While MWE paid special bonuses in NY it did not, apparently, pay special bonuses outside of New York. The mood around the firm was positive Friday, with many associates finding out that they received bonus increases 4 to 6 times their original bonuses. Although the Firm could have gone an extra step by granting special bonuses outside of New York (as you are aware, there is data from Chicago, Boston, D.C and California that a number of large firms paid the special bonuses to all domestic offices) associates and income partners appear to be satisfied with the firm’s response. While it was very unfortunate that the firm seriously misjudged the market early on, and failed to manage expectations correctly, MWE ultimately listened to its associates’ concerns, answered every question posed in writing and otherwise, granted a forum for discussion and then more importantly, publicly admitted its mistakes and solved the problem. This proves, without a doubt, that associates at MWE have a voice and that the firm listens. That is a great statement about MWE and likely differentiates it from many of its BigLaw competitors.”
“[I]s it worth doing a follow up on the MWE stories? The firm took a beating on ATL, but management seems to have made good on its promises. If my bonus is representative, the firm topped WilmerHale and Goodwin in the Boston market, and is in the Ropes range. My sense is that associates in Boston are quite happy with the results, and I suspect that the results are similar nationwide.”
3. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: We previously wrote:

“CWT announced its bonuses today in individual letters to the remaining associates. Some people got full market bonuses and others got letters that merely told them what 2008 salaries are, with no mention of a bonus.”

We subsequently heard this:

“Some people in the Capital Markets group got NO bonus. I guess their bonus is that they weren’t fired. Also, no info on their 2008 salary at ALL.”

“[T]he people that DID get bonuses were on a scale based strictly on billable hours. Any pro bono, or summer associate recruiting, didn’t count towards that number.”

We’re still a little confused about the Cadwalader situation; we don’t have a comprehensive read on the situation. If you do, please feel free to get in touch with us. Thanks.

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