Associate Bonus Watch 2010, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Latham Bonuses Are Out (and Looking Good)

Last month, when the world was bemoaning the Biglaw associate bonus market after Sullivan & Cromwell’s bonuses more or less fell in line with Cravath’s bonuses, I wrote as follows: “I’m keeping my eye out for Latham. It fits with their model. In bad times, suffering to all. In good times, models and bottles…. Latham survivors might get 2010 bonuses that trounce the former market leaders like Sullivan & Cromwell.”

Well, Latham & Watkins just announced its associate bonuses. Latham is a firm that gives out individualized bonuses, but the median payments by class year seem to be higher than the bonuses given out by Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, and the firms that followed them.

UPDATE: The preceding sentence was written before S&C’s springtime bonuses were announced.

So what is the Latham lucre looking like?

Multiple tipsters report that Latham’s scale is a marked improvement over the Cravath scale. Here’s the scale of median bonus amounts at Latham, according to our sources, with the corresponding Cravath-scale bonus indicated parenthetically:

LATHAM & WATKINS — 2010 MEDIAN BONUS AMOUNTS

Class of 2009 — $9,250 — (Cravath scale: $7,500)
Class of 2008 — $14,000 — ($10,000)
Class of 2007 — $21,500 — ($15,000)
Class of 2006 — $28,500 — ($20,000)
Class of 2005 — $37,000 — ($25,000)
Class of 2004 — $42,000 — ($30,000)
Class of 2003 — $48.375 — ($35,000)
Class of 2002 — $50,250 — (N/A)

Cravath is a straight lockstep firm, so all the Cravath associates will be getting their class year bonuses, while some Latham associates will be getting less than the mean bonus amounts listed above.

Of course, some Latham associates will be getting more. As one source reports:

As always Latham paid top bonuses to associates who put in big hours which were way above market (i.e., more than double) and in my view its nice to see that some firms actually reward those who work harder.

In fact, the reaction to the Latham bonuses flowing into our inbox and our text message line (646-820-TIPS) has been very positive:

At least 30% above market. Top performers got 2x Cravath/Skadden scale.

I don’t know, Cravath associates… it looks like you all just got Lathamed!

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

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