Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Proskauer Matches

Let’s keep the bonus news rolling. On Friday, our sources reported that Proskauer Rose matched the Cravath 2011 bonus scale. We now have the official firm memo.

Apparently this news is likely to anger many Proskauer associates. Given that fact, I’m not exactly sure why the firm was eager to be one of the early adopters of Cravath’s bonus scale….

We’ve explored the fact that many Biglaw associates are disappointed with this year’s bonus season.

I’m still expecting spring bonuses. Biglaw did too well in 2011 to justifying these cheap payouts.

I understand why Skadden quickly matched Cravath. Skadden wanted to add its considerable weight toward establishing this low figure as the baseline for the regular bonus. But what’s in it for Proskauer? Proskauer is not a bonus or salary leader, it’s a follower. And if Cravath goes to spring bonuses, Proskauer is going to have to follow that, too.

What has Proskauer accomplished today other than making people pissed off at the firm heading into the weekend? I suppose that some partners might not understand this, but these bonuses as they are right now are not good. These bonuses are not being interpreted as a “reward” for hard work, they’re being interpreted as a miserly payout from partners who don’t care.

I don’t think Proskauer believes that their associates will be unhappy:

On behalf of the entire Partnership we thank you for your contributions to these successes, your enthusiastic embrace of the challenges and changes of the past year and the vibrant spirit you bring to the Firm every day.

We wish you the happiest of Holiday Seasons and hope each of you will have rewarding times with family and friends.

Actions speak louder than words, and matching the crappy Cravath bonus makes Proskauer’s words of appreciation sound hallow.

Check the link to see the full bonus memo.

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