Akin Gump, Associate Bonus Watch 2010, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Partner Profits

Associate Bonus Watch: Akin Gump Jumps on Spring Bonus Bandwagon

It’s definitely a good Friday over at Akin Gump. The firm just announced spring bonuses.

Better late than never. We’ve been receiving complaints from financially achin’ Akin associates for weeks. Earlier this month, for example, one Akin Gump lawyer complained about the firm not paying spring bonuses despite robust profits in 2010 (profit per partner of $1.6 million, compared to 2009’s $1.5 million).

So Akin Gump partners had a good year in 2010, and now they’re spreading the wealth. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing with spring bonuses….

The full memo, from partner David Botter, appears below. There’s nothing terribly shocking in it. Akin is employing the Cravath spring bonus scale. The requirements and caveats are standard — eligibility for a 2010 year-end bonus, in good standing, subject to standard pro-rations, etc. — and the bonuses will be paid on May 13.

They’re being paid not just in New York, but to a wide range of offices (check out the recipient list on David Botter’s email). One Texas tipster was positively giddy:

Akin Gump spring bonuses: associates here are very pleased, especially considering our Texas salaries are NY market with NO deferred comp. Vinson & Elkins might have been first, but Akin comp in Texas is far better.

This discussion of places beyond our beloved New York reminds us: What happened with Akin Gump bonuses in non-NYC offices? We covered Akin Gump’s year-end bonuses in New York, which dutifully followed the Cravath scale, but what about non-New York offices?

We received a few isolated reports. One non-NYC Akin associate complained that they were “very low,” but another boasted that some junior associates at Akin received more than the Cravath scale.

We’re guessing it depended a lot on your hours. One Akin source offered this info on the subject:

Year-end bonuses were low. Outside NY it was below market. Based on my knowledge, if you billed 2000 client billable hours, you got around 20% less than market. At 2100+, you got market.

Feel free to discuss spring and also 2010 year-end bonuses at Akin Gump, in the comments to this post.

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Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: At Akin Gump, Timing is Everything


From: David Botter
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2011 10:44 AM
To: AU Associates; AU Counsel; DA Associates; DA Counsel; HO Associates; HO Counsel; LA Associates; LA Counsel; NY Associates; NY Counsel; PH Associates; PH Counsel; SA Associates; SA Counsel; SF Associates; SF Counsel; WA Associates; WA Counsel
Cc: FW Partners
Subject: Spring Bonus Announcement

In recognition of your valuable contributions to the Firm’s continuing success and consistent with our commitment to offer competitive compensation, we are pleased to announce a special spring bonus that will be paid on May 13th.

This bonus will be paid to associates and counsel who received a 2010 year-end bonus and who remain actively employed and in good standing at the time of the payment of the bonus. Spring bonus awards will be subject to the same pro-rations applied in 2010 for part-time, part-year, and approved leaves of absence.

Class of 2010 associates will receive a spring bonus of $2500. The bonus will be paid on the following scale for all other classes:

Class of 2009: $7500
Class of 2008: $10,000
Class of 2007: $15,000
Class of 2006 and higher: $20,000

Thank you again for your tremendous efforts to provide our clients with the highest quality work product. We appreciate your continued dedication and commitment to the Firm and look forward to another great year working together.


David H. Botter
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
One Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036

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