Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Gibson Dunn Does Its Thing
(Or: Gibson Dunn Open Thread — 2011)

Partners at Gibson Dunn are conducting associate reviews this week. Associates receive news of how they’re doing — and how much they’ll be getting, in terms of bonuses that will be paid out later this month.

As we’ve explained in 2010 and 2009, the GDC bonus system is not transparent and not lockstep. Instead, associates get individualized bonuses, based on such factors as hours and quality of work. The firm tends to use the Cravath scale as the starting point for its bonus scale.

What’s the early word about Gibson bonuses this year?

Based on the sources we’ve heard from, Gibson associates are generally getting bonuses at or slightly above the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. To remind you, that scale looks like this:

Class of 2010 — $7,500
Class of 2009 — $10,000
Class of 2008 — $15,000
Class of 2007 — $20,000
Class of 2006 — $25,000
Class of 2005 — $30,000
Class of 2004 — $37,500
Class of 2003 — $42,500

We’ve heard the following additional bits of information:

  • people with hours “far and above” the 1950-hour mark are getting more than the Cravath amount for their year; and
  • some lawyers in the class of 2002 and above “are higher than the Cravath scale, i.e., bonuses don’t top out at $42,500.”

Of course, when it comes to Gibson bonuses, YMMV. As a tipster tells us:

As usual, bonuses are individualized, based on performance and hours, with bumps up or down for deviations from the pack. Some low billers received no bonus.

In sum, the Gibson Dunn bonus scheme is rather opaque. Hence this open thread. In the comments, feel free to share information and opinions about GDC bonuses this year. Thanks.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Gibson Dunn Open Thread (2010)
Associate Bonus Watch: Gibson Dunn Open Thread (2009)

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