Akin Gump, it seems to me, has taken the reasonable approach for any firm that does not want to be a market leader in terms of compensation: it’s going to wait. Of course the firm is going to match. Most of the firms will end up matching the prevailing market for associate bonuses.

But as far as how much money that’ll be, we just don’t know yet. Instead of making a regular bonus announcement with a flashy bonus scale and the fiction that the numbers bear any kind of relation to the actual profitability of the firm, Akin Gump is just going to wait and see what happens, and then match the market.

It’s a prudent approach to a crazy bonus season….

Earlier this week, Akin Gump announced that it would be making bonus payments on February 15th. That’s a lot later than the firms that are trying to set the market.

On the other hand, there’s a chance that Akin Gump will only have to make one bonus payment at the end of all this hoopla. Here’s a statement we received from the firm about how much money will be given out in February:

Akin Gump is matching the market bonus in NY. For all other domestic offices, Akin Gump is awarding merit bonuses that will be determined in January and paid on February 15, 2012. A determination regarding spring bonuses will be made in 2012.

Honestly, what do you want them to say? Akin Gump will match in New York. They just don’t know what they’ll have to match yet. And they’ll probably match spring bonuses if everybody else pays spring bonuses. If nobody pays spring bonuses, Akin Gump won’t be leading the charge.

Everybody is just waiting and watching to see if Cravath or Sullivan will make an additional bonus payment, or if there will be some kind of awesome, “we are the 99%” movement from associates making six figures.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of law firm bonuses


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