From: The Executive Committee
To: ASSOCIATES – NY; ASSOCIATES – DC
Cc: PARTNERS – FIRMWIDE
Sent: Fri Nov 20 11:11:01 2009
Subject: 2009 Associate Bonuses
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following year-end bonuses for associates:
Class of 2008: $7,500
Class of 2007: $10,000
Class of 2006: $15,000
Class of 2005: $20,000
Class of 2004: $25,000
Class of 2003: $30,000
Class of 2002 and senior: $30,000
Bonuses will be paid on December 18, 2009, consistent with our customary practices. The Firm greatly appreciates the efforts of our associates over the course of the year.
Don’t feel bad, guys; there are a lot of great things you can do with $7,500.
More on Willkie’s bonuses after the jump.
Yesterday, when Skadden (aka “Full-Cravath”) announced its bonuses, I said that the next question we should be asking if whether all other major firms will match the market, or if some will go lower than Cravath’s level.
Well, check out where Willikie Farr falls on the Vault 100. Willkie (ranked #37) is the first firm outside of the top ten to announce its bonus levels. And they did decide to match the market.
So you have to wonder if this Willkie bonus is going to push firms like Akin Gump and Winston & Strawn to match the market (at least in New York), even more so than Cravath’s announcement.
Willkie’s bonus brings one other thought into focus. Earlier indications and rumors that firms would pay bonuses based on their personal financial situations this year were evidently entirely wrong. It will be a while before we know the 2009 revenue numbers for Cravath, Skadden, Cleary, and Willkie, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that they’re not going to be “equal.” Yet these four firms decided to pay the exact same 2009 bonus.
Boy, that looks an awful lot like some sort of “lockstep” system, where firms pay out money in concert with peer firms, regardless of the firms’ individual performance.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s nice to see that at least some of the traditional ways will survive the recession.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of 2009 associate bonuses