Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis & Bucks-ius

Thanks to everyone who responded to our recent request for information about 2011 bonuses at Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Here’s our report on bonuses at MLB.

As you may recall, Morgan Lewis pays individualized bonuses, so there’s no tidy table as there is for lockstep firms. Feel free to use this post as an open thread for MLB bonuses — you can compare amounts anonymously, in the comments.

How are Morgan Lewis associates feeling about their bonuses? We’ll get the ball rolling with some tips that we’ve received….

For the most part, at least based on the people we’ve heard from, associates are quite happy. This comment is representative of others in our inbox: “Firm chairman [Francis Milone] said bonuses would be substantial this year, and he followed through.”

Here are some data points we’ve obtained from a few Morgan Lewis sources. We have rounded amounts and hours to protect confidentiality, and we’ve indicated the corresponding Cravath scale amount parenthetically:

  • class of 2008, hours over 2000, bonus over $30K (Cravath scale: $15,000)
  • class of 2008, hours over 2100, bonus over $32K (Cravath scale: $15,000)
  • class of 2007, hours over 2200, bonus over $45K (Cravath scale: $20,000)
  • class of 2006, hours not specified, bonus over $50K (Cravath scale: $25,000)

Based on these numbers, it seems that a fair number of MLB associates are receiving bonuses that are at least double the Cravath scale. (Of course, we realize there’s a selection bias issue; we may be hearing disproportionately from happy people with something to crow about.)

These are just individual data points. What do we know about the big picture of Morgan Lewis bonuses? One tipster tells us:

The MLB bonus scale is somewhat transparent even if the averages and ranges are not…. [T]here is an hours bonus on the following scale, contingent upon hitting 1975 hours last year:

2010: $10,000 (I think)
2009: $15,000
2008: $20,000
2007: $25,000
2006: $30,000
2005: $35,000

Not sure how far up it goes…. Also not sure about bonuses for 2011 grads. The hours bonus was paid at the end of December in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Houston, and possibly elsewhere.

The additional merit bonus is mostly based on hours and rating. If you hit your hours and do decent work, you can double your hours bonus. The merit bonus was paid at the end of January….

At least in my practice group, we’ve been busy and the generous bonuses feel like an appropriate reward. MLB does its own thing for bonuses — i.e., no spring bonus, even if other firms start paying them — but it works for me.

“Morale is pretty high,” concluded this source. “Not to sound like a smug bastard, but every day that passes without spring bonus news makes me happy to be an MLBer.”

Earlier: Benchslap of the Day: Judge Easterbrook Benchslaps Biglaw
Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis & Bockius (2011)

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