Associate Bonus Watch 2009

Sidley Austin Associate’s Town Hall Delivers Encouraging Bonus News

Sidley Austin new logo Sidley Austin Brown Wood ATL Above the Law blog.jpgAfter Cleary announced its 2009 associate bonus, we asked you if the market had been set at the Cravath level. In response to the question “is it over,” 83% of you said “yes.”
Not so fast my friends. There was an all associates meeting at the D.C. office of Sidley Austin. Tipsters report that the Sidley bonus could be larger than it was last year.
Details from our tipsters after the jump.


The town hall meeting took place yesterday. Arguably firm management has had time to digest the latest information from Cravath and Cleary. Here is one tipster’s report on the meeting:

All associate’s town hall [in D.C.] They say that the bonuses haven’t been determined, but the total amount should be more than last year. Also notes that lock step will probably be ditched, at least for those at the upper levels.
And there was the hint that salaries would be unfrozen, to what degree I don’t know.

Another Sidley tipster had this to say:

I could be hearing what I want to hear, but I think Sidley D.C. just told me that my bonus is going to be more than last year. … I don’t have many more details because I was wetting myself during the meeting.

We also talked to a person in Sidley’s New York office. That tipster’s information was second hand, but the associate was able to add to the general theme:

D.C. people are happy. Something about bonuses.

Last year, Sidley followed the Cravath scale. Is the firm in a position to lead this year?
Sidley spokespeople did not respond to our request for comment.
One thing worth noting is that Sidley has a 2,000 billable hours requirement to be eligible for the bonus. It is possible that Sidley will exceed Cravath’s bonus for those that make their hours?
But the big takeaway from the Sidley town hall meeting is that market has not yet been set for associate bonuses. Not yet.
Earlier: Breaking: Cleary Matches Cravath Bonuses Is it all over? Reader poll after the jump.
Breaking: Cravath Bonuses Are Out (and Down)
Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley Matches New York Market, Takes the Show to Chicago

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