Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Weil Matches Cravath (And There’s Nothing ‘Distinguished’ About It)

After yesterday’s excitement over the Boies Schiller bonuses, we’re back to the Cravath scale. Today Weil Gotshal came out with its year-end bonuses. The firm is matching Cravath.

Our sources report the Weil scale starts at $7,500 for full first-year associates — no stub-year bonus for the class of 2011, like at Milbank — and tops out $37,500.

UPDATE (12/15/11): Weil just announced that it will pay $42,500 to its most-senior associates, in accordance with the Sullivan & Cromwell bonus scale. Memo below.

Actually, for Weil associates this “match” could be even worse than last year’s bonuses. That’s because Weil followed through on its promise to phase out extra cash for top performers….

If you want to see the full Weil memo, click ahead to the next page. Here’s the scale:

Weil readers, what’s this about the “strong” bonus? To have something called “overall strong bonuses” contemplates having a different bonus category for “generally weaksauce associates.” Are there people at Weil who are getting less than the lockstep class-year payment they’d expect? If so, how large a group are they? Let us know, in the comments or by email.

One thing is for sure: Weil has discontinued its “distinguished bonus” program. “Distinguished” is Weil-speak for above-market bonuses given to a handful of high performers. Nobody should be surprised, since Weil told everybody it was done with this program last year. Still, if you were a high performer and now you’re getting this small little Cravath bonus that Boies just made look laughable, you’re probably not in the best mood right now.

Certainly, this tipster is not feeling the love:

At least I’m only going to bill about [XXXX] hours this year instead of the [XXXX] I hit last year. That’s a positive outlook, right? By the way, in the “things I never thought I would say” category, Elie is right and Lat is wrong (only with respect to this year’s bonus news).

These bonus numbers in no way reflect the continued increase in business and PPP over the last few years.

Indeed. But we’re still waiting on Sullivan & Cromwell to come in and Bigfoot Cravath.

UPDATE (12/15/11): The memo announcing a new top of the scale also appears on the next page.

(hidden for your protection)

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