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

Associate Bonus Watch: Cravath Enters the Bonus Wars — and Beats S&C!

The venerable firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore — still widely regarded as setting the market for associate compensation at large law firms, even if other places pay more — has announced springtime bonuses. These bonuses are on top of the recent year-end bonuses that Cravath paid in December 2010.

And get this: the CSM bonuses are higher than the spring bonuses previously announced by Sullivan & Cromwell. Wow!!!

For the classes of 2010 though 2008, the bonuses are on the S&C scale. But for the class of 2007 on up (more senior), the Cravath bonuses are more generous than SullCrom’s.

It seems that Cravath has gotten the memo: Cachet is nice, but cash is nicer.

So how generous are the Cravath bonuses for the more senior classes?

UPDATE (8:45 PM): After the jump, we have added a table comparing the Cravath total bonus to the Sullivan & Cromwell / Simpson Thacher / Cleary Gottlieb total bonus.

Here’s the Cravath scale for spring 2011 bonuses (with the Sullivan & Cromwell scale in parentheses):

Class of 2010: $2,500 (S&C: $2,500)
Class of 2009: $7,500 (S&C: $7,500)
Class of 2008: $10,000 (S&C: $10,000)
Class of 2007: $15,000 (S&C: $10,000)
Class of 2006: $20,000 (S&C: $12,500)
Class of 2005: $20,000 (S&C: $15,000)
Class of 2004: $20,000 (S&C: $17,500)

Nothing is listed for the class of 2003, because by then you should be a partner, thanks to Cravath’s short partnership track (even if not many people make it).

Like those of Simpson Thacher and Cleary Gottlieb, the Cravath spring bonuses will be paid on Friday, April 29. Congratulations, Cravath folk!

So what will S&C, Simpson and Cleary do now? Will they go back and pay their senior people more? And what about other major firms that have not yet announced, like Skadden and Davis Polk — will they pay spring bonuses on the Cravath or the Sullivan scale?

It seems that Cravath still has some fight left in it. The bonus wars have begun!

UPDATE (5:15 PM): We didn’t see their post before publishing ours, but Am Law Daily had the news here (at 4:38 PM). The timing of the Am Law post suggests that Am Law was informed of the news before Cravath associates were — i.e., a partner at the firm told the press before CSM told its own people.

UPDATE (8:45 PM): For ease of reference, here is a table totaling the December 2010 and April 2011 bonuses for Cravath associates (with the corresponding S&C total bonus listed parenthetically):

Class Year: Dec. 2010 + Apr. 2011 Bonus = Cravath Total Bonus (S&C total bonus)

Class of 2010: $0 + $2,500 = $2,500 (S&C total: $2,500)
Class of 2009: $7,500 + $7,500 = $15,000 (S&C total: $15,000)
Class of 2008: $10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000 (S&C total: $20,000)
Class of 2007: $15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000 (S&C total: $25,000)
Class of 2006: $20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000 (S&C total: $32,500)
Class of 2005: $25,000 + $20,000 = $45,000 (S&C total: $40,000)
Class of 2004: $30,000 + $20,000 = $50,000 (S&C total: $47,500)

Note, of course, that the S&C total bonus is also — at least for now — the Simpson and Cleary total bonus.

If you see any errors in the tables, please let us know. Thanks.

Earlier: Springtime Bonus Watch 2011
Associate Bonus Watch: Sullivan & Cromwell Pays Generous Spring Bonuses!

ATL Law Firm Directory
(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments