Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Job Survey, Money, Reader Polls

Bonus Season Blues

Perhaps you’ve already heard that Cravath announced its 2011 bonus scale on Monday (swiftly followed by Skadden and Milbank) and apparently it’s 2009 all over again. Around here, while Lat shrugged and Elie heaped scorn (“dick move”), the ATL commentariat … well, they were cut to the heart and gnashed their teeth (“ALLCAPS OUTRAGE MEME”).

We can’t help but wonder if this bonus season’s dyspepsia is typical of lawyers and law students generally. What with the growing ranks of JDs who are despairing of ever paying off their debt, shouldn’t there be some significant cohort thinking, “phew…not only do I have a job, but now my firm will be forced to match”?

Well it turns out that’s certainly not the case…

Anyway, Elie, though he may contain multitudes, is but one blogger. And the commenters, contrary to popular belief, are but a tiny subset of the ATL audience. So we decided to ask all of our readers how they felt about the bonus news. Here’s what 660+ of you told us:

So, as far we can tell, pissed off is the new normal. Compare these results with the exact same poll ATL ran way back in 2009, Year Zero of the Lowball Era:

It seems sentiment has actually hardened against the perceived stinginess of Cravath and the BigLaw flock it shepherds. Compared with only two years ago, facing essentially the same information, indifference had declined and “happiness” has pretty much disappeared.

Watch this space for continuing coverage of bonus announcement new and commentary.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

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