2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWelcome to the associate bonus post for Gibson Dunn, which has informed its associates of their 2009 bonuses.
This post is going to look a lot like the recent Sidley bonus post. Bonuses at Gibson, like those at Sidley, are individualized and individually communicated. This is especially true for the non-New York offices. (We understand that New York is a bit closer to lockstep and somewhat more hours-driven, but not completely so.)
As we understand the GDC bonus system, it’s basically run on a grid. Associates in a given class year are divided into categories, based on the usual metrics (e.g., billable hours, quality of work, etc.). Associates in the middle category receive a bonus that’s basically in line with the New York market-level bonus for their class year. Associates in higher categories get bonuses above NYC levels — sometimes as high as double the New York market, we hear. Associates in lower categories get a below-market bonus — or no bonus at all.
Some quotes from Gibson sources, after the jump.


This Gibson tipster was dissatisfied with this year’s bonus:

Gibson gave out bonuses this year, and they were in line with the other big NY firms. BUT, Gibson imposed a cut-off. As far as I can tell, the cutoff was somewhere around 1500 hours…. Not happy about this move.

Other GDC sources inform us, however, that the firm doesn’t impose a strict hours cutoff. Sometimes associates with lower-than-average hours can receive a decent bonus if the quality of their work is particularly good.
A second Gibson associate was a happier camper:

Did you hear about Gibson bonuses already? S&C bonus, NOT Cravath. Woot for that extra $5k! Gibson rocks (as always)!

As long as I’ve ever worked here, they’ve given a “standard bonus” (the market rate) when you’re around 1950 hours (give or take 100 or 200), and then deviate if you’re drastically higher or lower. This year might be different, and I just don’t know how it would deviate, but I’m quite certain if you made hours you for sure got the S&C bonus.

Is the foregoing accurate? Or is it possible that our source, who received a Sullivan & Cromwell level bonus, was simply above average in hours and/or rating category?
Help us help you. Compare notes about bonuses at Gibson Dunn, in the comments.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses


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