Associate Bonus Watch 2008, Bonuses, Money, Skaddenfreude

Associate Bonus Watch: Debevoise Announces Bonuses at 6:54 p.m. (Did they think nobody would notice?)

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgDebevoise & Plimpton has been very busy and very profitable. They recently sent around a positive internal email about the firm’s business during the downturn. And we know that the Siemens case has treated them well.

But in 2008, public protestations of solid business mean nothing when it comes to associate compensation. Debevoise announced that they were paying half of what Skadden is offering:

2008: $17,500 (pro-rated)

2007: $17,500

2006: $20,000

2005: $22,500

2004: $25,000

2003: $27,500

2002: $30,000

2001 (and senior): $32,500

The numbers — while annoying — are not really that surprising. Schulte Roth, housed in the same building, earlier today announced the same scale (although subject to an hours requirement). Even our Debevoise sources anticipated that, with Siemens winding down, the firm would be more forward-looking with this round of bonuses.

What is surprising is the timing of this bonus announcement. The email went out from managing partner Rick Evans at 6:54 p.m. WTF (“Sacré bleu” in Debevoise-speak)? Was management hoping to dodge the news cycle with an after-hours announcement? Somebody should let them know that the internets are on 24/7.

Our hearts go out to the Debevoise associates that were still working when this announcement crashed into their inboxes. Professionalism is its own reward. All Skadden associates are getting this Christmas is twice the money.

Read the full memo after the jump.


DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON — MEMORANDUM — 2008 ASSOCIATE BONUSES

U.S.-based associates in good standing will receive bonuses this year at the following class levels. The bonuses, which will be subject to the usual pro-rations for part-time programs and lengths of service of less than the entire year, will be paid at year-end:

2008: $17,500 (pro-rated)

2007: $17,500

2006: $20,000

2005: $22,500

2004: $25,000

2003: $27,500

2002: $30,000

2001 (and senior): $32,500

We appreciate your hard work throughout this year. We have seen in 2008 large projects of extraordinary importance to clients and market dislocations that have chilled deals and challenged many of our clients. Continued success in the uncertain economic environment of 2009 will require the superior client service and commitment that our clients have come to expect. Your contributions are a critical part of providing that service. Thank you.

Rick Evans

For All Partners

Earlier: Debevoise & Plimpton: Doing Well in the Downturn

Debevoise’s Delicious Dough (But Beware, Biglaw Bigwigs: New York Dems Want Their Share)

Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

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