Proskauer Rose just announced its 2010 bonuses.

Drama? Suspense? Tension? Please. A rose by any other name still smells like Cravath. Proskauer matched the Cravath bonus scale. Had Proskauer beaten the market, It would have been more surprising than learning that life can use arsenic as a fundamental building block.

We don’t have the full memo, but multiple tipsters tell us that Proskauer isn’t going to be breaking any market trends this bonus season. It’s getting to the point where we only have three real questions left this bonus season…

As I see, here’s what’s still up in the air during bonus season:

  • Will the D.C., L.A., and Chicago markets match the New York market?
  • Will the firms with hours requirements make the Cravath bonus attainable only by those who bill 2100 hours or more?
  • Will Sullivan & Cromwell save us all?

That’s really all that’s left. Only S&C has the guts to beat the Cravath market (and yes I said this last year, and yes S&C partners laughed while they were counting their extra money).

For the non-New York markets, remember that the NYC bonuses used to be so high in part because of the high cost of living in NYC relative to other places. It’s not like those costs have gone down, but the bonuses are now so low it will look silly for other major cities to pay significantly less. I mean, are they really going to give out a $3,000 bonus to full first years in Chicago?

But, unless S&C is willing to step up to the plate, or if firm leaders in other major cities see an even bigger opportunity to make a money grab, really all we’re still looking for is hours shenanigans.

UPDATE (5:48 PM): Tipsters are now reporting that there are in fact some shenanigans regarding Proskauer’s matching bonus. From a source:

Interesting thing to note is that the bonuses are “pro rated for those… who joined after January 1, 2010.” The earliest the class of 2009 started was January 19 and most started in March or April. So most of the class of 2009 isn’t getting the full $7,500 anyway.

Now that is a dirty trick. Defer these people for months on end, and then hit them again right at Christmas time. You know, it was the firm’s fault that the class of 2009 started “after January 1, 2010.” The 2009 grads signed up to start in September or October of 2009, they were told there would be a job waiting for them after the 2009 bar exam, and somebody — can’t seem to remember who — prevented them from working until after 1/1/10. To turn around and penalize them for that during bonus season seems cold.

Then again, this is coming from a firm that Lathamed first-year associates back during the height of the recession. So perhaps the class of 2009 should be thankful they got a prorated bonuses instead of a full layoff.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2010


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