On Friday, I started the official “damn it, I will hold my breath” bonus watch. I’ve already lost my editorial bet with Lat (I thought they’d come out before Monday), and now I just want them to get it started.

Also on Friday, our new Breaking Media research guru Brian Dalton started running a poll asking you, our readers, when you thought the bonuses would start flowing. It’ll be an interesting test case to rate the predictive power of Biglaw reader groupthink.

The numbers say that you expect bonuses to drop any minute now….

We asked Above the Law readers when the first Biglaw firm (most likely Cravath) would announce bonuses. Here’s what you told us (note that “Monday” in this poll means yesterday, since the poll was conducted on Friday and over the weekend):

The vast majority of you think that bonuses will drop sometime this month. That could be wishful thinking, or that could be a reasonable assessment based on past behavior. Either way, there aren’t many of you who think the bonuses will be significantly delayed this year.

More interestingly, many of you think that they’ll come out this week. Does that mean I’m working on Thanksgiving?

Last year Cravath announced on November 22nd. That was the Monday before Thanksgiving. The 18% of you who thought CSM would be out by now can join me at the loser’s table.

But there were 40% of you who thought the bonuses wouldn’t come out yesterday, but would come out this week. Does that set us up for the Friday after Thanksgiving? Would the firm really be so annoying as to dump their bonus news on a day when few people are at work and nobody’s paying attention?

(That’s what Lat thinks. He believes that a Friday bonus announcement is a clever way for firms to get their people thinking about work-related matters, and talking to their work colleagues, on a day when normally they’d be recovering from overeating and nursing hangovers. If bonus gossip leads to incidental work-related conversations — “So that’s the bonus news. By the way, where are we on preparing those schedules for the merger agreement?” — so much the better for the firms.)

Rest assured, folks, if Cravath or some other firm announces Biglaw bonuses on Wednesday or Friday, expect them to be miserly. When you don’t want people to notice what you are doing or you want your associates to bitch and moan about their fate on their own time instead of in the office, you announce your bonuses this week.

If we make it to Monday with no bonus announcement, I’d say that makes it more likely that the bonuses will be generous whenever they do show up.

Earlier: The 1% Would Like Their Bonuses… NOW


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