This is a little bit surprising. Not that Linklaters matched spring bonuses. We’re getting to the point that pretty much every firm that wants to be taken seriously is going to have to match spring bonuses.
No, the weird thing is that Linklaters matched the lower level of spring bonuses set by Sullivan & Cromwell, not the more generous spring bonuses adopted by Cravath (and the many firms that have rushed to join them).
Does that strike anybody else as strange? Why get into the spring bonus game at all if you can’t afford the extra thousands of dollars it takes to make a market level payment?
Here’s the memo from Linklaters co-managing partner Nick Rees:
As I am sure you are all aware, a number of our peer firms in New York have recently announced they will be paying spring bonuses to their associates. I am pleased to announce that we too will be paying an additional spring bonus to US associates, as provided in the scale set out below.
2009 – $7,500
2008 – $10,000
2007 – $10,000
2006 – $12,500
2005 – $15,000
2004 – $17,500
2003+ – $20,000
Bonuses will be paid on April 29, 2011 to all US associates who are in good standing at the time of payment.
That’s nice and all, but is Rees just not aware of what the market is for “peer firms”? People in the Linklaters class of ’06 are getting $7,500 less than what people at Milbank are banking. Why pay spring bonuses because the market demands it and then not meet the emerging market for spring bonuses?
In any event, it is good news to see a top British firm following the spring bonuses in New York. Clifford Chance, you’re on the clock. We expect to hear from you soon.