Associate Bonus Watch 2008, Hogan & Hartson

Associate Bonus Watch: Hogan & Hartson Keeps D.C. Interesting

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgAfter spending some quality time with Stephen Hawking and an abacus, we are now ready to report the bonus associates at Hogan & Hartson will be receiving this year.

For the firm’s offices in D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Northern Virginia the scale is as follows:

2002 and above – $7,500 to $37,500
2003-2005 – $7,500 to $25,500
2006-2007 – $7,500 to $20,000

The difference between a $7,500 bonus and a $37,500 bonus is huge, so we delved a little deeper into how Hogan comes up with the cream of the bonus crop. As you might expect, hours play a significant role. A tipster with a firm grasp of multivariable calculus (and, you know, basic arithmetic) explains:

Hogan actually has a fairly unique compensation scheme. there are two different salary tracks – one for associates who intend to bill 1800 hours and another for those who bill 1950 (at which level you make the market salaries). I think the 1800 track salaries are somewhere in the neighborhood of 15K less and are designed so that the firm can pay our low-billing regulatory associates less money – and as it turns out this year, a bunch of corporate associates too.

We crunch more numbers after the jump, and there’s 2009 Hogan salary update as well.

As we understand it, associates who billed at least 1851 hours are eligible for at least a $7,500. That would be a bigger bonus than an associate at O’Melveny D.C. who only billed 1851.

If you bill 1951, you are on the higher bonus track. A junior associate at Hogan D.C. who billed 1951 could receive a $20K bonus. But at O’Melveny, that same 1951 would net the associate $27,500.

Associates who bill more than 1950 hours at Hogan lose out against class colleagues at OMM all the way up the scale.

On the other hand, a first year at Hogan who hits 1951 is still getting a bigger bonus than a 7th year at Quinn who hits 2000 hours.

But there’s another issue with both the Hogan structure. A tipster points out:

So an 8th year who billed 2700 gets only $20K more than a first year who billed 1951. … anything over [1950] gets paid at $50/hr or less for the pure-profit life-wrecking night and weekend hours.

When you compare it to the just announced Quinn structure, top-billers at Hogan can feel even more aggrieved. 2600 hours will net a senior associate $37,500 at Hogan, against $55,000 at Quinn.

Your preference between the two structures probably depends on how busy you’ve been this year.

The New York market has been set, but elsewhere there is still a lot up in the air.

Update (4:42): In addition to the bonus information, Hogan & Hartson also updated associates about their impending salary raises … kind of:

We wanted to let you know that we are continuing to evaluate base compensation levels for 2009 for the associates in our U.S. offices. We will advise you as to your 2009 base compensation as soon as we make a final determination, but in any event not later than mid to late January 2009. Thanks for your consideration.

So, that’ll be something fun to think about over the holidays.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: O’Melveny Makes It Rain, Baby

(At least outside New York. For 1950+ hours.)

Associate Bonus Watch: Quinn Emanuel

Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

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