law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgLatham & Watkins might be leading the charge for salary freezes, but that’s not going to stop the firm from paying out associate bonuses. Right?

Latham is not a lockstep bonus firm. As a tipster explains it:

Our bonuses are not lock-step- so those people working their tails off usually do end up doing better than market … It’s usually those who are at the threshold (1900 hours) who do worse than market or get no bonus at all.

Well bonus information just went out and it looks like those hours thresholds have shifted. Latham goes through great (and ultimately futile) lengths to make sure that the firm’s bonus information doesn’t appear in the press. A tipster explains:

The way they announced them was via an email with a link in it that took you to a page that listed both your specific bonus, as well as an “un-cut-and-pasteable” bonus memo.

After the jump, we post the first screenshot of the Latham bonus structure.


Latham bonus 2.JPG

The structure is nominally the Half-Skadden payouts that we’ve come to expect. But we’re getting reports from some people at Latham who claim to have hit the hours requirement (at least, last year’s hours requirement) but are not getting any bonus at all.

Meanwhile, an interesting little tidbit about a high profile Latham attorney suggests that some people saw Latham’s problems coming a mile away:

One of our star former litigators Beth Wilkinson from our DC office went to Fannie Mae a few years ago. Firm begged her to stay. She left Fannie Mae this fall and rumored to be heading back to Latham, an obvious choice since she’d been there forever. Apparently she recently decided to go to Paul Weiss instead. I wonder if she is smarter than the rest of us who are sticking around?

We know what Latham is doing with associate salaries. We know what Latham is doing with bonuses. It will be very interesting when we learn what profits Latham partners are banking.

Update (1:30): Latham tipsters tell us that 647 associates received bonuses. Latham has over 1300 associates firm wide. I’m not great at math, but that doesn’t sound too good.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

Latham & Watkins Salary Shenanigans Follow-Up


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