Associate Bonus Watch 2009

Associate Bonus Watch: Weil Pays ‘Distinguished’ Bonuses
Some senior associates will get $50K bonuses.

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGBonuses have been announced over at Weil Gotshal — and, at least for some associates, WGM is paying above the market. Eat your heart out, Cravath.
In addition, Weil is giving its associates their standard seniority-based pay raises for 2010. The firm is using the regular NYC pay scale: $160K – $170K – $185K – $210K – $230K, etc. The pay raise won’t hit bank accounts until the February 5 deposit, but it will be retroactive to January 1.
Should above-market bonuses from Weil come as a surprise? On the one hand, the firm has been having a good year, thanks to its work on marquee bankruptcies like Lehman Brothers and GM. On the other hand, the firm tends to be cheap about such things historically hasn’t been a compensation leader.
For associates receiving an “overall strong” rating, the firm will pay bonuses on the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. We hear that achieving this rating isn’t difficult: “[P]retty much everyone gets that. No hours requirement. I’ve never heard of anyone not getting a bonus if they are still employed on pay day.”
But wait, there’s more. Certain more-senior associates, from the class of 2005 on up, will receive “distinguished” bonuses.

The “distinguished” bonuses range from $30,000 for the class of 2005 to $50,000 for the class of 2001. Think of these as the “bad-ass restructuring practice” bonuses.
Not everyone in these classes will get the enhanced bonuses, though. How widely distributed will the “distinguished” bonuses be? One source says:

Approximately 25% of associates eligible for the “distinguished” bonus get it. But they are generally associates in the more senior classes (e.g., hardly any 2004 and 2005 associates will get it, but most of the 2001 and 2002 associates will get the extra money).

The complete Weil Gotshal memo — including the table of base salaries and bonuses, “distinguished” and otherwise — appears below.
The Management Committee is pleased to announce our 2009 U.S. Associate bonus payments. On behalf of WGM partners, we thank you for your hard work and dedication over the past year.
Bonuses will be paid on January 29, 2010. Associates receiving an “overall strong” rating will receive 2009 bonus compensation that is commensurate with compensation paid by other major firms. U.S. associates receiving a “distinguished” bonus will be paid above market. Additionally, 2010 base salary increases will be reflected in the February 5th deposit, retroactive to January 1.
Weil Gotshal Manges LLP bonus table schedule 2009.jpg
**All compensation will be subject to customary prorations.
Stephen J. Dannhauser
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

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