No bonus for you!

It’s April 29. Monarchists have long circled this day as an opportunity to praise the vestigial structures of imperial domination. But this day means a lot to people who earn their fortune through work instead of birth. Today is a huge day for Biglaw associates. For many, today is the day spring bonus payments hit their bank accounts.

Don’t spend it all in one place.

But as we all know, not every Biglaw associate will be enjoying a spring bonus this year. With the payments out, we’re no longer looking at which firms are “lagging” behind in their spring bonus announcements. Now we’re looking at firms that have simply decided they are not paying spring bonuses, regardless of what the market says. Apparently, keeping up with Cravath really will be ruinous to some firms.

So who has officially announced they will not be paying spring bonuses this year? We’ll tell you what we know about three Biglaw firms, and hopefully you can fill in any gaps…

Management generally isn’t sending around firm-wide memos telling people they are not getting paid. Instead these things are coming down informally, during in-person meetings and whatnot. Because, you know, associates would like a cup of coffee and maybe a danish before they get f***ed.

Some firms, however, are being a little more obvious about it. We’ve heard a lot of chatter about the lack of spring bonuses at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, culminating with this tip:

Stroock announced yesterday that there will be no spring bonuses and they are raising the minimum billable hour requirement for the year end bonus to 2000 from 1900.

I bet Stroock associates really hope that message was a typo.

It’s one thing to see this behavior at Stroock, but seeing something similar from a firm like Covington & Burling is a little bit jarring. Covington paid spring bonuses in New York, but outside New York, Covington associates are enjoying stillborn spring. A tipster reports:

C&B’s Management Committee announced in an email today that asociates in offices outside of New York will not be receiving supplemental spring bonuses. Supposedly, when C&B made “regular” bonus decisions at the end of March, they took into account the fact that other firms had awarded supplemental bonuses. In reality, though, the “regular” bonuses — while slightly higher than what C&B typically awards — were nowhere near the sum of other firms’ “regular” bonuses + Cravath-scale supplemental bonuses. Cheap-ass Covington does it again.

Let’s make this very clear: if you work for Covington outside of New York and you are working as hard as New York associates, Covington thinks you are a sucker.

But at least Covington acknowledges that other firms are paying spring bonuses. Arnold & Porter bizarrely seems to not even understand what spring bonuses are:

I’d just add that A&P management does not believe that spring bonuses are being given by firms that paid a 2010 year-end bonus. Yes, I know, extremely hard to believe, but that has been their position. This is in addition to paying frozen salaries last year and giving bonuses that basically did nothing more than true people up to the 160K scale. Needless to say, associates are demoralized as firms that partners wouldn’t dare refer to as their “peers” are giving out Spring bonuses.

Is Arnold & Porter management illiterate? Of course firms that paid 2010 year-end bonuses paid spring bonuses. That’s the whole point. WHAT THE HELL IS A&P TALKING ABOUT?

I don’t know what to tell associates at Covington or Stroock, but at least their firm leadership can read widely available information.

In any event, are there other firms that have announced they are not paying spring bonuses? Let us know at [email protected].

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses


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