Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley’s Bonus Match Draws Yawns From Associates

Full disclosure: I have a disproportionate amount of lawyer friends who work at Sidley Austin. Their bonuses have caused all sorts of fun to happen in my inbox. Without even seeing the actual bonus memo, I could tell what was happening based on Gchats and text messages. Friends said things like:


“This joke stopped being funny days ago.”

“Is ATL hiring?”

“Sidley proves you right every single day.”

I like it when friends making three times as much money as I make feel comfortable complaining to me.

And, you know, I am right….

In case the messages were too cryptic for you, Sidley Austin is matching the market bonus in New York and D.C. We haven’t seen the memo (I have crappy friends), but we understand that Sidley is matching the Cravath scale instead of the higher Sullivan & Cromwell mark.

Here’s how one tipster put it:

Word for word the same memo as last year minus last year’s sentence about an increase in the number of bonuses.

Well, when you are doing the exact same bonus, why would the firm bother changing the platitudes in the memo? It’s not like the firm actually believes that this Cravath bonus represents a good faith attempt to reward associates for a profitable year. Why waste time on the bonus garnishments when the meal is just a reheated leftover?

As we keep saying, wait until spring bonuses. Then we’ll see Sidley reluctantly follow along with the pack.

UPDATE (12/21/11): Here’s a more positive take on the Sidley Austin bonuses.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses

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