Even though the holidays may be behind us, bonus news is not. Much of the big bonus news tends to come down in November and December, but announcements (and payments) continue into January, February, and beyond. So stay tuned for the latest updates.

Yesterday we posted an open thread for discussion of firms that have paid bonuses greater than the Cravath / Sullivan & Cromwell scales. We’ve received some good intelligence in response to that post, which we’ll be reporting out as we obtain sufficient corroboration. So please keep the tips and memos coming, by email or by text.

Today we have a new firm to add to the list of firms paying more than Cravath and S&C (at least to associates who made their hours): Patterson Belknap, the well-regarded, New York-based, litigation-focused firm.

So how much is Patterson paying out?

We don’t have the full scale; the news was communicated via class-specific memos. Our understanding, however, is that Patterson paid (1) regular bonuses on the Cravath scale and (2) special bonuses of a few thousand dollars more. So PBWT may not have doubled Cravath, a la Irell & Manella, but it definitely beat it.

(Patterson is a small firm, with under 200 lawyers, so we don’t want to reveal the few classes we have numbers for. But if we can get more data points, we will update this post with them.)

The PBWT bonuses, both regular and special, were paid out on December 30. To earn the full bonus, the firm has an hours target of 2100 total hours (1850 billable, plus an additional 250 hours that can be a combination of billable and “related non-billable” hours). Associates who don’t hit the hours requirement receive 50% of the full bonus.

But the special bonuses for this year were paid without regard to the target, due to the firm’s “especially successful year.” As we previously wrote, in reporting on Patterson’s mid-year gift of iPads to all associates:

Patterson can afford to be generous, since 2010 should be a banner year for the firm. In February, Patterson secured a $1.75 billion settlement for its client, the Cordis unit of Johnson & Johnson, in patent litigation involving cardiac stents. Expect firm profits this year to be heart-stopping.

Congrats to the Patterson associates on their bonuses. Some of the other firms that paid good bonuses are like sweatshops, but PBWT is known for being a relatively pleasant place to work. It’s nice to know that there are places you can go where you can have a life and enjoy decent compensation.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2010
Law Firm Perk Watch: Who Wants a Free iPad?


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