Well, Sidley Austin turned that around more quickly than I thought. Last night I pointed out that any further delay from Sidley Austin regarding spring bonuses would just be causing pain and anguish for Sidley associates for no reason. The firm was going to have to match anyway, so why drag it out?

Well, today Sidley matched the Cravath scale for spring bonuses. Yeah, unlike White & Case, Sidley told people how much they’d be getting (subject to an hours requirement). The money will be paid on April 29.

Sidley Austin associates we’ve spoken to are satisfied. One tipster reports: “Sidley spit the bit on this like Kansas in the tournament. But at least we’re not getting bounced out of the competition entirely.”

Wow, I guess like the VCU Rams, Sidley associates are just happy to be here….

Sidley’s bonus memo is one of my favorite memos so far. You can read the full memo below, but check out this opening:

In recent weeks, a number of law firms have announced Spring bonuses for 2011. We have been monitoring these developments, and in light of the Firm’s commitment to providing market-competitive compensation and the level of the Firm’s productivity thus far in 2011, we are pleased to announce the payment of Spring bonuses this year.

I love it. The thing is almost dripping with bitterness and sarcasm. You can totally imagine what the unedited version of that paragraph looked like:

In recent weeks, a number of bitch ass law firms have capitulated to announced Spring bonuses for 2011. We have been monitoring these developments with growing unhappiness, and in light of the Firm’s reluctant commitment to providing market-competitive compensation to you greedy mutherf***ers and the level of the Firm’s productivity despite all the time you bastards waste reading about Kirkland on Above the Law thus far in 2011, we are really effing thrilled pleased to announce the extortion payment of Spring bonuses this year.

Oh, I kid, Sidley Austin management. The associates did work hard, and I’m sure the partners are thrilled to be sharing the wealth with their employees.


SIDLEY AUSTIN — MEMORANDUM — SPRING BONUSES

In recent weeks, a number of law firms have announced Spring bonuses for 2011. We have been monitoring these developments, and in light of the Firm’s commitment to providing market-competitive compensation and the level of the Firm’s productivity thus far in 2011, we are pleased to announce the payment of Spring bonuses this year.

In general, Spring bonuses will be provided to associates who were eligible for a year-end bonus based on performance in 2010 and who have maintained a bonus-eligible level of productivity since then. In determining eligibility, we have taken into account the hours that each associate has spent on chargeable, pro bono, and certain non-chargeable matters, such as legal services and other special contributions to the Firm. Associates recently joining the Firm will be eligible if they did not receive a stipend or clerkship bonus during the last 12 months. Like year-end bonuses provided by the Firm, Spring bonuses are discretionary. The bonuses will be paid on April 29, 2011, in accordance with the following scale by class year (prorated as appropriate):

Class Year Spring Bonus
2010 $2,500
2009 $7,500
2008 $10,000
2007 $15,000
2006 $20,000
2005 $20,000
2004 $20,000
2003+ $20,000

On behalf of all of our partners, we thank you for your continued dedication and professionalism on behalf of the Firm and its clients.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses


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