In our recent post on the top 10 most generous large law firms — based on analysis by ATL’s new director of research, Brian Dalton — the firm of Hogan Lovells placed second. Under the rankings, this meant that Hogan partners are taking the second-biggest hit to their own bottom lines in order to keep their associates happy and well-compensated.
But is this still the case today? Based on what we’re hearing about the most recent Hogan bonuses, announced shortly before Christmas, one wonders whether the Ho-Love partners have turned from Santas into Scrooges….
Here’s how the firm explains its bonus system (from a statement sent to Above the Law):
Hogan Lovells takes a market by market approach to bonuses, matching top Cravath levels in New York for associates meeting performance expectations. Bonus levels in other markets vary, with higher performing associates receiving bonuses at the New York levels.
We’ve heard from associates in two of the firm’s major offices, New York and Washington, D.C. Here is what an NYC source tells us:
Cravath scale if you made 2,000 hours. No rewards for anything above that (sucks as a bunch of people hit 2500+, even considering the huge amount of non-credited non-billable work we are required to do here). Senior people capped at $37.5K. Praying for spring bonuses.
Meanwhile, in D.C., the campers seem similarly unhappy. Said one source, a junior- to midlevel-associate who received about half the Cravath bonus scale for his or her year, the bonuses were “low as usual.”
A second offered a more detailed (and perhaps more positive) assessment:
It seems that for the class of 2008, the base bonus for hitting your hours is around $10,000. Bonuses go up with hours billed. Midlevel associates seem to be less disappointed than they expected to be, but it’s probably due to our increasing seniority and not increased generosity on Hogan’s part.
Bonuses at Hogan Lovells: not great, not disastrous, but something of a disappointment. Not a bad summary for the 2011 bonus season, come to think of it.