McDermott logo.JPGWe’ve gotten the first hard numbers of the 2008 bonus season, in part. McDermott Will & Emery has announced that they will pay their associates the bonus advance they were expecting. A firm-wide email announced the relatively positive news:

December Bonus Advances: As we have previously communicated, the following payments will be made in mid-December to Associates who are on target to receive a bonus: (a) $10,000 for Associates in the class of 2006 or 2007, (b) $15,000 for Associates in the class of 2004 or 2005 and (c) $20,000 for Associates in all other classes. The determination of whether an Associate is on target for a bonus will be made by the ACC using the CPAs and the general evaluation criteria already described in prior presentations and communications by the Compensation Committee. For some Associates, the December payment may be the only bonus the Associate receives. The bonus determined by the ACC to be paid in March, 2009 will be reduced by any advance received in December.

That’s good news to the attorneys that are on target to make their hours. That’s almost everybody, right? Many people have pointed out that bonuses might be depressed this year, not because firms will be offering less money, but because many associates are struggling to make their hours.

The other wrinkle here is that MWE is leaving the door open on what their “final” bonus package will look like. They could match last year’s market, or not. There is a lot of time to read the market between now and March.

Still, $10K – $20K just in time for holiday shopping is a good thing for those on track. And if you’re low on hours, this you at least know for sure that there is at least some money available to you if you can make up the hours in the fourth quarter.

Congrats and good luck, MWE associates.

Read the full memo after the jump.


MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY — MEMO — BONUS NEWS

The Associate Review Committees have completed their evaluations of the Associates across the Firm and the in-person performance evaluation meetings will soon begin to be scheduled. Below is a quick summary of what you should expect.

1. Evaluation Meeting: A member of the local ARC along with your Local Department Head or one of his or her designees will deliver the in-person performance evaluations. All evaluation meetings will be scheduled sometime between November 17 and December 19, 2008 so that all reviews should be completed before the end of the year. If you have not been contacted to schedule a meeting by the Thanksgiving holiday, please contact your local ARC Chair (listed below) or feel fee to call one of us.

2. Comprehensive Performance Assessment (“CPA”): Prior to your meeting, you will receive a copy of your CPA prepared by your ARC. The focus of the meeting is to review with you the ARC’s assessment of your performance as represented on the CPA. The following are some general points to keep in mind:

* For each evaluation category, the Excellence Standard score (“ES Score”) (against which the ARC measured your performance) is the score that an Associate at the same level of seniority would receive if the Associate’s performance were viewed by the ARC as meeting the Firm’s standard of excellence.

* The scores were determined by the ARC in its judgment after reviewing the evaluations submitted by partners and conducting any independent due diligence it felt was necessary.

* The core purpose of the CPA is to communicate to you how you performed relative to the standard in each of the ten categories scored by the ARC. Scoring in this detailed manner is intended to help you understand your relative strengths and weaknesses. In addition, for areas of weakness or where improvement is needed, the scoring is intended to provide a measure of how far below the standard you may be in those areas so that you can seek guidance for how to improve.

3. Promotion Candidates: Promotion decisions will be announced Firm-wide on November 17.

4. December Bonus Advances: As we have previously communicated, the following payments will be made in mid-December to Associates who are on target to receive a bonus: (a) $10,000 for Associates in the class of 2006 or 2007, (b) $15,000 for Associates in the class of 2004 or 2005 and (c) $20,000 for Associates in all other classes. The determination of whether an Associate is on target for a bonus will be made by the ACC using the CPAs and the general evaluation criteria already described in prior presentations and communications by the Compensation Committee. For some Associates, the December payment may be the only bonus the Associate receives. The bonus determined by the ACC to be paid in March, 2009 will be reduced by any advance received in December.


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