CHECK YOU EMAIL — for some happy bonus news. On Friday, litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel announced its 2010 bonus schedule. And it was good.

It’s a little more complex than the standard bonus scale at a lockstep firm. As in years past, Quinn Emanuel bonuses reflect a combination of seniority and hours worked. But one associate provides this concise summary: “Quinn matches Cravath, plus hours increments of $5K at each hour state, plus additional 50% paid in June 2011. So this raises the bar.”

Says a second source at QE: “I’m relatively pleased. So many people are billing so many hours here (we’re swimming in work) that these bonuses will be very substantial. The reason for the June payout is pretty clearly that the firm is try to retain some associates. Our turnover is massive. Anyway, enjoy!”

So, in essence, Quinn is paying 150 percent of the widely adopted Cravath bonus scale, subject to two caveats: (1) there’s an hours requirement of 2100 hours to get the Cravath-level bonus, and (2) the additional 50 percent payment will be paid in June 2011, to associates in good standing and on pace with their hours at that time. (Think of the June payment as a retention bonus of sorts.)

Let’s take a look at the memo, which contains the fine print (such as treatment of pro bono hours), and which also mentions modest bonuses for class of 2010 members — a nice touch, considering that the “stub-year bonus” is a rare thing these days….

The full QE bonus memo appears below. We’ve tried our best on the formatting, but we realize it’s not at optimal readability. Look, you’re lawyers — you’re smart, so figure it out.

UPDATE: We’ve inserted prettier versions of the tables.

As you can see from the first table, the Cravath-scale bonuses, payable in December, kick in at the 2100-hour mark. A Quinn Emanuel associate explains why this hours requirement should not be seen as objectionable or onerous:

[W]hen you sign with the firm, you’re told that 2100 is minimum for bonus eligibility, so there’s no surprise that sub 2100 is less than 150% of Cravath-level. I will also add that if any associate billed less than 2100 hours last year, they were avoiding work. There are a fatuous number of hours at this firm.

(Query whether that’s a good use of the word “fatuous.” Perhaps “ridiculous” might have been preferable?)

Some might complain about the extra 50 percent being paid in June 2011. If you’re in this camp, note this language from Quinn’s memo:

I want to emphasize that the June bonus will not impact anyone’s 2011 year-end bonus. Rather we elected to pay bonuses that are essentially 150 percent of the bonus standard announced by many other firms, but to pay a portion of it in June.

As for the stub-year bonuses, class of 2010 associates will get $2,000, if they arrived in September or October and have billed at least 200 billable hours (or $1,000 otherwise). These aren’t huge payouts, but they’re better than the goose eggs most other firms are doling out to stub-year first-year associates.

It seems that 2010 was another good year for Quinn. In non-bonus news, QE announced an impressive eight new partners (as reported in The Lawyer and subsequently tweeted by John Quinn). Congratulations to Matthew Bunting, Michael Fazio, Ben Finestone, Gabe Gross, Alex Rudis, Manisha Sheth, Molly Stephens and Matt Warren, who will become partners effective January 1 (see memo below).

For these eight, as well as all other hardworking associates at Quinn, the holidays are looking happy indeed.

Quinn Emanuel makes City promotion two years after UK launch
[The Lawyer via Twitter / John Quinn]

QUINN EMANUEL — MEMORANDUM — ASSOCIATE BONUSES FOR 2010

The firm is pleased to announce associate bonuses for 2010. We had another strong year, both financially and in terms of the extraordinary results achieved for our clients. Thank you for your exceptional contributions.

As in past years, the size of your bonus depends both on your class level and the how many hours you worked. Everyone who billed at least 2000 hours will be receiving some bonus; people who worked more will receive additional bonus increments; associates who started prior to September, or who were on leave for part of the year, but who otherwise were on pace to reach 2000 hours over a full year will receive prorated bonuses; and associates who joined us recently (Sept. 1 or after) will be getting a small fixed amount.

In addition, most of you will be eligible for an additional bonus in June 2011 equal to 50 percent of what you are receiving in December. For example, someone in the Class of 2005 who worked between 2100-2399 hours over the last twelve months will receive an additional bonus of $12,500 in June. Similarly, people receiving prorated bonuses in December will get an extra 50% of that amount in June. The only requirements in 2011 to be eligible for this 50% bonus are that, as of June 30, you be in good standing at the firm and on pace to work at least 2000 hours over the period of December 2010 through November 2011.

I want to emphasize that the June bonus will not impact anyone’s 2011 year-end bonus. Rather we elected to pay bonuses that are essentially 150 percent of the bonus standard announced by many other firms, but to pay a portion of it in June.

Happy holidays to everyone and thank you for your hard and excellent work this year.

2010 Bonuses Payable in December

Billable hour credit given for non-billable time spent on collection,
E&O matters and up to 100 hours of probono/AAIT matters

2010 Bonuses Payable in June

June bonus payments in all categories subject to the above-referenced conditions.

Total 2010 Bonuses

QUINN EMANUEL — MEMORANDUM — NEW PARTNERS

From: Richard Schirtzer
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2010 3:30 PM
To: All Personnel
Subject: New Partners

The firm is pleased to announce that Matthew Bunting, Michael Fazio, Ben Finestone, Gabe Gross, Alex Rudis, Manisha Sheth, Molly Stephens and Matt Warren will be joining the partnership starting January 1st. Please join us in congratulating each of them.


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