Two months ago, when spring bonuses were new and fresh and exciting, we reported on spring bonus deliberations at Cadwalader (which eventually matched the market). At the time, I wrote: “If Cadwalader jumps into the spring bonus pool, we’re going to have to start asking questions about Paul Weiss, Willkie Farr, White & Case (don’t laugh), and other well-known New York City firms.”

Well, I’m not here to say “I told you so.” I’m here to say “I was wrong.” It turns out that you are most certainly allowed to laugh. Because White & Case wants to jump into the spring bonus pool without actually telling people if it is matching the spring bonus market. The White & Case “spring bonus” could be a goddamn unlimited MetroCard for all we know. Do the managers at White & Case think they can appear to be paying market compensation without actually paying market compensation?

That’s funny….

Here’s what we know about spring bonuses at White & Case. Yesterday the firm announced that it would be paying a “spring bonus”, but it didn’t tell anybody how much they’d be getting. Instead the firm said it would be paying people on an individualized basis (you can read the full memo below).

Here’s what some of our tipsters are saying:

W&C announced [spring] bonuses, but they did not give the amounts – going to be done on an individual basis.

This translates into W&C not matching market. W&C doesn’t match market with year-end bonuses either.

Or check out this commenter:

White & Case paid, but did not match. Unclear what people are getting; W&C simply said they will get something to be determined by their practice group leader.

So, add White & Case as confirmed, but below market…

Miami, DC, LA and Palo Alto got year-end bonuses, but about 30-50% of market. NY was about 75% of market for folks who hit 2000 hours, and no bonus whatsoever for folks under 2000.

White & Case looks shady here because several of the “merit-based compensation” firms used a lockstep bonus scale when they did spring bonuses. Did White & Case think that nobody would notice that? It makes the whole thing look like a cheap attempt to get some positive press by White & Case.

Of course, if you can’t get your positive press through transparency and facts, the ATL comments are always open to you. Check out this White & Case supporter who apparently can only afford a computer that has a the CAPS LOCK key permanently engaged:

I GOT THE SAME BONUS AS ALL MY FRIENDS AT OTHER FIRMS… WHITE & CASE PAYS THE SAME AS EVERY OTHER TOP FIRM.

Or this guy:

NOT TRUE…WHITE & CASE MATCHED MARKET ON ALL LEVELS.

All right guys, whatever you say.

But White & Case managers should take note: it’s pretty hard to look like you are matching the market when you refuse to provide transparency or any evidence that you are matching the market.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the New York Times was making White & Case the poster child for the legal recession. You can understand if people are a little bit cynical when it comes to the firm.


WHITE & CASE — MEMORANDUM — SPRING BONUSES

On behalf of the Americas Operations Council, we are pleased to announce that the Firm will be paying a special spring bonus to our U.S. based Counsel and Associates. Later today, you will receive a memo from the Executive Partner of your office providing additional information with respect to bonuses to be paid in your office. Bonuses will be paid on or about April 29, 2011 to lawyers who received bonuses for 2010 and remain in good standing as of the payment date. Individual bonus decisions will be communicated to you by your Regional Section Leader or another partner in your Regional Section. We would like to thank each of you for your hard work and contributions to our success.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of spring bonuses


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