Interesting. Leading litigation firm Paul Weiss just announced its associate bonuses, and it’s using the scale of Sullivan & Cromwell — not the substantially similar but slightly cheaper scale of Cravath.
Some Paul Weiss sources had hoped for better, noting that the firm scored a huge contingency fee in 2010. Last week, one of them wrote to us (before all the other shoes dropped): “I know S&C and STB are the best hopes, but do you really not want to mention PW, litigation powerhouse with $91 MM contingency fee this year? PW has been quiet, while lit-heavy K&E, QE, Cahill, and Sidley have topped market.”
(Oh, and add lit-heavy Boies Schiller to that, as we reported earlier this morning.)
Alas, it was not to be. Paul Weiss has fallen in line behind Sullivan & Cromwell, which (more or less) fell in line behind Cravath.
But let’s look on the bright side. The S&C scale offers slightly better payouts to the most senior classes of associates. Will any of the lockstep New York firms that originally followed Cravath go back and give their most senior people S&C bonuses?
Or is it not worth the hassle? The Sullivan & Cromwell scale is very close to the Cravath scale. Let’s put them side by side — and learn about a SPECIAL GIFT that Paul Weiss gave to its associates, to take the sting off the bonus news….
Here’s the Cravath scale, up against the S&C / PW scale:
Law School Class Year — Cravath bonus — Sullivan & Cromwell bonus
Class of 2009 — $7,500 — $7,500
Class of 2008 — $10,000 — $10,000
Class of 2007 — $15,000 — $15,000
Class of 2006 — $20,000 — $20,000
Class of 2005 — $25,000 — $25,000
Class of 2004 — $30,000 — $30,000
Class of 2003 — $35,000 — $37,500
Class of 2002 — [not listed] — $42,500
One PW source opined as follows:
[Paul Weiss] has lost whatever right they had to advertise that they compensate at the “top of the market.” Period. You can’t make that claim if you’re looking up at Cahill and Quinn Emmanuel. There will be great vengeance and furious anger….
But will there? Another Paul Weiss tipster delivered news of a special, supplemental gift:
Partners pocketed $90 million contingency fee for themselves and are paying bonuses December 30, at least a week later than usual.
But, on the bright side, they did give every associate a free copy of Counsel for the Situation: Shaping the Law to Realize America’s Promise, the autobiography of PW alum, William Coleman. AND they generously matched up to $1,000 of associates’ charitable contributions (made within a 2-month window).
What other firm matched THAT?
Props to Paul Weiss for matching associates’ charitable contributions; other firms should consider following suit. As for “Counsel for the Situation” — well, it sounds like it’s by the lawyer for this guy (or his lovely lady friend, who sometimes gets in trouble with the law).
P.S. If you’re looking for law-related books to give as gifts this holiday season, check out our Twelve Books of Christmas for 2010.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2010