Associates bitch when partners won’t share the wealth, but nobody says a peep when legal support staff get shafted. The very concept of staff bonuses has gotten lost in the recession shuffle, despite the fact that the support staff who remain are being stretched so thin.

Well, it looks like Vinson & Elkins remembers that staff are people too. Today multiple tipsters report that legal support staff at V&E will be receiving a bonus. Our sources didn’t know how much they’re getting, but they’ll be getting something.

UPDATE: Reports a Vinson & Elkins source, “As a matter of clarification, the staff bonus that [was just announced] by V&E is an EXTRA bonus being paid by Management. V&E staff already received their normal staff bonuses in December. Viva la V&E!!”

Compare this to Jones Day. In November, the firm broke its legendary code of silence about compensation just to say that their staff would not be getting bonuses. That’s not nice. That’s like a recovering paraplegic going through years of physical therapy to get to the point where he can give his doctor the finger.

So really Vinson does deserve quite a bit of credit here. Good job by them.

And oh yeah, the firm also told associates that they would be getting bonuses this year… and suggested that the bonuses would be better than the Cravath scale….

Our sources tell us that V&E associates received voicemails today informing them that they would be getting a bonus that is “higher than expected.” What was expected? Well, according to one tipster, “We had been told we would get market at the All Attorneys Meeting.”

Could this be yet one more firm that looked at the bonuses being offered by the Cravath’s and S&C’s of the world and thought: “Are you kidding me? We can do better than that.”

V&E associates don’t expect to see their bonus money until the end of January, so we’ll have to wait a few weeks before we just how much “higher” the V&E bonus is. And we’ll have to wait to see what kind of caveats the V&E bonus has (hours requirements? performance targets?) for eligibility. I’m sure there will be something Cravath associates can point to that will allow them to pretend like they are still getting top of the market compensation. I hear they love fish sticks over there.

But at V&E, it sounds like a pretty happy day. Associates are hopeful, staff don’t feel like they’re subhuman, and as far as we know partners aren’t threatening to leave the firm just because their employees are getting a nice bonus. Seems like good times and good news all around.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses


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