Associate Bonus Watch 2007

Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert Sweetens Bonus Pot By 40 Percent Over Last Year

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe were surprised by the strong, almost vitriolic commenter response to our recent post about Dechert LLP. The firm announced that it was reducing bonus amounts for associates who failed to enter their time in timely fashion.
We weren’t the only ones who were taken aback by reader reaction. From a source at the firm:

[See this memo] concerning Dechert’s bonuses, which increased substantially from the prior year. It looks like some of the criticism in the comments to [your recent] post are a little overzealous.

I don’t know how any associates are claiming that they were surprised by the announcement regarding time entry. The firm has been gradually tightening its policies on this over the last year, and there has been ample notice that there would eventually be a little financial pain for people who didn’t get with the program.

In light of the abuse we’ve been taking in the comments, it would be great if you could do a post pointing out the increase in bonuses from last year.

We’re happy to. Check out said memo, after the jump.


What we just reprinted was our Dechert tipster’s take. Another source who sent us the same memo had a less positive spin:

Friend of mine from Dechert forwarded their bonus memo to me and asked me if anything struck me as off about it. This is the letter in its entirety.

[I quickly noticed] that there’s no mention of class year bonuses, salary bumps or hours targets. Pretty vague, but with the shit storm about Dechert docking associates for “late” time, it makes sense they’d leave that information out. From what I understand very few associates will be getting market for their class year.

Dechert should merge with CWT, since they share the same bonus mentality. Well, CWT didn’t dock anybody for late time.

Judge for yourself. Here’s the memo:
DECHERT LLP — MEMORANDUM — 2007 Associate Bonuses and 2008 Associate Salaries
DATE February 4, 2008
TO North American Associates
FROM Members of the Professional Resources Committee:
CC North American Partners, All Practice Group Administrators
RE 2007 Associate Bonuses and 2008 Associate Salaries
Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to the firm in 2007. You were instrumental to the quality representation we provided to our clients and the firm’s continued success and your hard work is very much appreciated.
This year, the firm is awarding approximately $15,285,500 to 337 North American associates. This reflects a substantial increase from last year, when we awarded approximately $10,561,200 to just over 300 associates. Your practice group leadership will be reaching out to you individually to inform you of your 2008 salary and any bonus you received. Bonuses will be paid in the next week and associate evaluations will commence immediately. During associate evaluations, we will discuss your performance for the period which ended September 30, 2007, your professional goals and how we can support you in achieving them.
If you have any questions about your evaluation or bonus, please contact any member of the PRC. Again, thank you for your efforts in 2007. We look forward to a productive and rewarding 2008.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert Docks Associates for Dilatory Billables

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