Associate Bonus Watch 2010, Associate Salaries, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus (and Salary) Watch: Wilson Sonsini

In our coverage last month of top law firm partners to work for, Wilson Sonsini did well. See here and here.

(Speaking of Wilson Sonsini partners, the firm recently announced nine new ones — including Rick Frenkel, of “Troll Tracker” fame. Congratulations!)

Not only does WSGR have some great partners to work for, but they will also pay you if you work there. Getting paid is… nice.

How much will Wilson Sonsini associates receive in 2010 bonuses and 2011 base salaries?

Let’s look at the memo that went out yesterday….

Here is one tipster’s take on the news:

Salary is still one level below [NYC market – 160/170/185/210/230, etc.]. Bonuses are from like 9,000 to 49,000 but communicated individually [today]. Presumably they will be anchored in the standard scale, as they were last year.

We hoped WSGR would match the salary scale of its peer firms in the Bay Area, such as Orrick, but it hasn’t. New York remains below market.

I wonder how many firms are still one step down?

That’s just one reader’s reaction. Feel free to share yours, in the comments.

The memo appears below. Note that the firm’s new fiscal year, FY 2012, begins next week, on February 1, 2011.

WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI — MEMORANDUM — BONUSES AND BASE SALARIES

To: All Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Associates, Of Counsel, Special Counsel, and Staff Attorneys
From: XX and XX
Date: January 27, 2011
Re: FY11 Bonuses and FY12 Salary Schedule

We are pleased to announce the firm’s year-end merit bonuses for associates and other non-member attorneys, as well as the associate salary schedule for the new fiscal year beginning on February 1, 2011.

Merit Bonus

The firm will pay FY11 merit bonuses to non-member attorneys on January 31. Continuing with previously established criteria, the merit bonus program provides for hours-based awards to eligible attorneys who achieved at least 1,900 hours over the course of the 2010 calendar year. In addition to the hours-based component, attorneys also may receive a discretionary amount based on a variety of factors, including work quality and overall contribution to the firm. Attorneys who reach the 2,100 and 2,400-hour thresholds will receive additional dollars to recognize that achievement.

For the purpose of determining hours-based awards, bonus-eligible hours include all chargeable hours recorded, pro bono hours, hours charged to accounts for the firm’s legal services, and a cumulative total of up to 40 hours charged to Knowledge
Management activities, attorney recruiting interviews, or preparing and presenting internal training courses that qualify for CLE credit. The measurement period for bonus-eligible hours is January through December 2010.

In accordance with the firm’s usual practices, hours requirements and awards will be adjusted on a pro rata basis for attorneys who started mid-year, worked part time, or who were on a leave of absence for any part of the year.

This year’s total bonuses range from a maximum of $9,000 for eligible associates from the class of 2009 to a maximum of $49,000 for eligible associates from the 2003 and earlier classes.

Associate Salary Schedule

The associate salary schedule for FY12 is below. Step increases will be effective on February 1, 2011.

Associates will receive individual emails from Human Resources on January 28 confirming their FY12 salary, and for those receiving bonuses, the bonus amounts.

Finally, we will discuss the firm’s financial results, outlook for the new year, and some of our key priorities at a town hall meeting on February 16; meeting details will follow shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to contact your supervising member if you have any questions on the associate bonus program or salary schedule.

Thank you for all your continued contributions to the firm. We hope to see you on February 16.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Names Nine New Partners [Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati]

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