For the most part; there are some caveats and prerequisites. And there’s also some extra upside, for selected top performers.
You know you’re getting deeper into bonus season when the announcements start getting complicated. The early memos — generally straight Cravath matches, with very few qualifiers — are simple and straightforward.
So let’s look at the Dewey & LeBoeuf memo, shall we?
The caveat is a fairly standard one: an hours requirement (and not an onerous one). From firm chairman Steven Davis’s memo:
To be eligible for the year-end bonus, associates must have billed at least 2,000 hours in 2010. These hours may be a combination of fee-earning, pro bono and accountable hours provided that there is an appropriate balance.
There’s also the requirement that attorneys be “in good standing at the time of payment,” and some fine print about pro-rated bonuses for certain classes of lawyers (e.g., late arrivals, leave-takers, etc.). For all the details, see the memo below.
And here’s the good news:
Eligible associates may also be awarded an additional discretionary bonus which takes into account exceptional performance.
We’re guessing this “additional discretionary bonus” isn’t large — but it’s certainly a nice gesture, and not one that’s expected or required in a still-challenging economic environment. With the lateral market recovering but not yet roaring, firms don’t need to bend over backwards to retain talent. Recall that Weil Gotshal recently announced that in 2011 it will stop its practice of awarding “distinguished” bonuses (i.e., additional bonus payments on top of the market rates) to certain high-performing attorneys.
In any event, congratulations to the Dewey crew on the extra stuffing for their stockings. The full memo appears below.
DEWEY & LEBOEUF — MEMORANDUM — COUNSEL AND ASSOCIATE BONUSES
DATE: December 7, 2010
TO: U.S. Counsel; U.S. Associates
COPY: U.S. Partners
FROM: Steven H. Davis
RE: U.S. Counsel and Associate Bonuses
On behalf of the partners, I would like to thank you for your commitment to the firm in 2010
and, as always, to providing excellent client service. In recognition of your contributions to the
firm’s success, I am pleased to announce the following discretionary year-end bonus amounts for
eligible associates in our U.S. offices:
Class of 2009 — $7,500
Class of 2008 — $10,000
Class of 2007 — $15,000
Class of 2006 — $20,000
Class of 2005 — $25,000
Class of 2004 — $30,000
Class of 2003 — $35,000
To be eligible for the year-end bonus, associates must have billed at least 2,000 hours in 2010.
These hours may be a combination of fee-earning, pro bono and accountable hours provided that
there is an appropriate balance. To receive a bonus, attorneys must also be considered by the
firm to be in good standing at the time of payment. Associates who joined the firm between
January 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010, work an alternative work schedule or were on a leave
of absence during any point in the calendar year will be eligible to receive a pro-rated bonus
based on their specific circumstances. Bonuses for counsel and associates in the Class of 2002
and more senior will be communicated on an individual basis.
Eligible associates may also be awarded an additional discretionary bonus which takes into
account exceptional performance.
Once again, I thank you for all your hard work and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2010