As we recently mentioned, our view is “better late than never” when it comes to bonus news. With this in mind, we are pleased to bring you the bonus announcement of Willkie Farr — which came out in December.

Given Willkie Farr’s status as a top New York law firm, you can probably guess what they did in terms of bonuses….

As you’d expect, Willkie Farr announced a variant of the Cravath / Sullivan & Cromwell bonus scale. You can call it the Cleary Gottlieb scale, which is, as we previously observed, “the most generous bonus schedule among the main-line law firms.” It provides for (1) prorated bonuses for class of 2011 members and (2) a top payment of $42,500 for the most-senior lawyers (class of 2003 on up). These are nice touches.

As it turns out, Willkie Farr announced its bonuses on the afternoon of December 9, the same day as Cleary (which announced in the morning). Given the temporal proximity, it’s quite possible that Willkie decided on its bonus scale independent of Cleary. So perhaps this (relatively generous) bonus scale should be called the “Cleary / Willkie scale.” (Paul Weiss, which followed the Cleary / Willkie scale, didn’t announce until a few days later, on December 12.)

This isn’t shocking news, and we are late in bringing it to you, but do we want to close the loop on as many of these bonus announcements as possible. If you have bonus news we haven’t previously covered in these pages, please drop us a line. Thanks.

P.S. For those of you who’d like to see the exact wording, the Willkie Farr bonus memo appears on the next page.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses


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