Associate Bonus Watch 2010, Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Hughes Hubbard Makes ‘Special Bonuses,’ As It Would Have Been Stupid To Call Them Spring Bonuses

Earlier this week, Hughes Hubbard & Reed finally got around to issuing spring bonuses. Oh, we can’t call them “spring” bonuses, because Hughes Hubbard is calling them “special” bonuses. But make no mistake, this is a spring bonus HHR has just taken a long time to get around to.

Unlike Cahill, which just gave their associates more money because they could, HHR is playing catch up to the 2010 bonus market. I can prove it: Hughes Hubbard’s special bonus is tied to 2010 performance and hours marks, not 2011.

I think if you are rewarding people for what they did in 2010, it’s pretty obvious that you are still trying to catch up to the 2010 compensation market…

Here is the Hughes Hubbard memo:

Now, as spring bonuses go, this is a very nice one. The class of ’06 and above is getting $20K from HHR, which compares nicely to is consistent with the Cravath scale, where the class of ’06 and above got $17,500 $20,000. That’s of course assuming that Hughes Hubbard people started out with the same initial bonus as Cravath gave out in December.

Did that happen? We didn’t run a regular bonus post for HHR, so I’m not entirely sure if HHR is comparing apples to apples when it says that its senior people will receive more total compensation than peer firms.

And, of course, that’s all assuming HHR people got their 2010 hours in on time. Remember, Hughes Hubbard threatened downright draconian punishment for people who did not submit their hours in a timely fashion. The firm threatened delinquent time keepers with a 20% reduction in salary.

It is a bit ironic that a firm that was last seen yelling at its associates about getting their time in on time decided to come out with spring bonuses so late in the year that they had to call them something else.

In any event, despite all of these caveats, I’m sure there are some class of ’06 associates who just said: “I can’t hear ya ’cause my wallet has a boner.”

Congratulations guys. Celebrate in the comments. Hopefully I still be here in 2076 when HHR gets around to paying your 2011 bonus.

Is anybody else waiting on a mid-year, spring, summer, special, super-duper, or any other type of bonus? Please let us know in the comments or by email.

UPDATE (7/14/11): A tipster tells us:

In response to the HHR bonus post: 2010 year-end bonuses were well above market depending on one’s tier (which is based on hours). A 2006 grad with 2300 hours earned $45k at year-end and $20k now. A 2007 grad would earn $40k plus $15k now.

Earlier: Hughes Hubbard Is the Latest Firm to Crack the Time Keeping Whip

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