Associate Bonus Watch 2010, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Open Thread: Class of 2010 Associate Bonus Bitch-Fest

Personally, I think it’s time for Biglaw associates in the class of 2010 to drink a tall glass of shut the hell up. They got jobs at a time when many of their classmates did not. They received $160K salaries just after there was a significant effort by some firms to push starting salaries down to $145K. Most of them got to start sometime in 2010… in the same year many of the people in the class of 2009 got to start. And, as far as we know, none of them have been Lathamed and had their careers aborted before they even started.

Are things as easy for the class of 2010 as they were for the class of 2006? No. But sometimes I think that the current n00bs forget that they could have been cast back down with the sodomites in the class of 2009.

But, that’s just me. And I’m old and irritable and have lost sight of the youthful exuberance that makes a person sing “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.” It turns out that first-year associates don’t want to wait until they mature into a class worthy of a full bonus at the end of 2011. They want whatever bonus money they can get out of 2010, and they are angry at the firms that are not paying up.

The Cravath-level spring bonus for the class of 2010 is only $2,500 at the firms that are paying spring bonuses to first years. And so we have two disgruntled groups: people who work at firms not paying a spring bonus to first years, and people who feel the $2.5K is “illusory” because it’s prorated based on when the associate started at the firm.

Let the bitching begin…

As an example of a firm that is not paying a bonus to first-years, we have Kirkland & Ellis and its disgruntled associates. First-years there are complaining that despite the firm’s promise to pay “top of the market” compensation, K&E isn’t paying a spring bonus to first-year associates, like other market leaders.

Of course, most people at K&E are just happy that the firm paid spring bonuses at all. Remember that the firm lagged behind the market in terms of making that announcement. But I suppose the K&E first-years have the right to feel aggrieved if they are making less than first-years elsewhere. Still, I think this tipster almost has the beginnings of the right idea:

Hell, maybe we should all just be happy to have a job at this point but if Kirkland makes a promise, shouldn’t they have to keep it?

I dunno man, maybe give it a year. We’re still trying to clean up all the bodies from your brethren in the class of 2010 who were not lucky enough to get jobs at all.

Meanwhile, even at firms paying spring bonuses, the first-years are restless. Check out this report from Skadden:

Skadden released their bonus information yesterday via our payment account online — it shows what you will be paid about a week in advance. Rather than the advertised $2,500 for those starting in 2010, Skadden gave us $547 (pre-tax). Apparently the $2,500 figure was meant to be “pro-rated.” I don’t think anyone really saw this coming. Why would you say $2,500 if that is a mythical, pointless reference point? NO ONE ELSE STARTED IN 2010, so whose bonus is the $2,500 supposed to refer to?

So, you’re saying that I got a bigger bonus than a first-year at Skadden. Hahaha, suck on my blogger prestige, bitches.

Oh, I kid, Skadden first-years. Yes, $547 is a hilarious sum of money to get as a bonus from a firm where partners take home millions. Yes, it appears that the $2,500 number was just for show. And yes, it’s unlikely that Cravath first-years are suffering this ignominy.

But, come on, you’re first-years. You should be happy the older attorneys are making you carry their briefcases and act as their fluffers when they buy hookers. Things could be a lot worse, Skadden first-years; you could be Kirkland first-years.

In any event, don’t let my cynical ass stop you from your indignation. Have at it, first-year associates. Actually, this will be good practice for organized whining later, when you are bitching for keeps.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses

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