Yesterday, we reported that Kaye Scholer would be paying market busting bonuses to associates who hit their hours.
Today, associates are telling us that “hitting hours” is kind of like shooting the moon in hearts. A tipster reports:
Bonus hour requirements were moved up from 2,000 to 2,200 this year, with the “superbonus” at 2,400 (unchanged from last year). Bonus amounts were $20,000 for 2,200 hundred hours and $40,000 for 2,400 hours, across the board, which is only above market for the 2008-2006 crowd (it would equal other firms at the 2005 year, assuming those other firms had also raised their requirement to 2,200 hours, and below market for anyone after that.)
Well then. Before bonus season started, we mentioned that we would have to pay attention to hours requirements hidden under bonus announcements.
Did any Kaye Scholer associates hit 2,400 hours this year?
After the jump, our tipsters further explain Kaye Scholer’s hours requirements for its lockstep pay raises.
When it comes to salaries, tipsters report that you had to hit 1,800 hours last year in order to be eligible for your lockstep raise:
If you made over 1,800 hours last year, you’ll receive your normal lockstep salary increase. If you did not make 1,800 hours last year, you will not receive an increase, unless you also make over 1,800 hours this year, in which case you’ll get a true-up next January. To complicate this, if you are not on track for 1,600 hours by mid-year, you will have pay withheld, which you’ll get back in January if you make 1,600.
As I said yesterday, 1,600 hours doesn’t strike me as a terribly stiff requirement. I mean, we’re talking about what, 135 billables a month? I have to think that if you are billing fewer than 135 hours a month, you are much more worried about being fired for lack of work than getting a pay increase.
On the other hand, there is not a lot associates can do to keep their hours high if there is not enough work to go around. It’s on the partners to bring in enough business to keep their associates basically utilized.
But other Kaye Scholer sources we spoke with expect that there will be more than enough work to go around in 2010. As we understand it, Kaye Scholer management expects that their associates will be able to easily hit 1,600 hours, if they are willing to work.
We’ll see as 2010 progresses if associate work flows are back to “normal” around Biglaw. If they’re not, we’ll probably move away from salary stories — and go back to layoff stories — in a couple of months.
Earlier: Kaye Scholer: Back to More Simple Methods for Cutting Salaries, Plus a Big Time Bonus
Open Thread: Let’s Talk Bonuses