Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits

Associate Bonus Watch: Paul Hastings


From: Performance Management Committee
To: All U.S. and Participating International Associates
Cc: Partners, Attorney Development, Attorney Recruiting
Date: February 28, 2012

We are pleased to announce associate bonuses for 2011.

The Performance Management Committee once again applied the following standard approach to the allocation of year-end bonuses:

• As in past years, bonuses are merit-based and consider associate performance according to the following performance criteria: quality and efficiency of legal work, including achieving favorable legal results for clients; level of developmental proficiency related to the competencies; economic contribution; client service excellence; business and practice development; Firm committee and community involvement, including pro bono activities; and training and mentoring of more junior associates.

• Bonuses were determined using the calendar-year measurement period from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

• Productivity is one component of our bonus allocations. For 2011, we again opted to set the bonus-eligibility “hours threshold” at 97.5 percent of an associate’s qualifying hours budget given relative productivity of associates in all offices. For example, full-time associates with a 2000 hour budget who worked at least 1950 qualifying hours (client billable, Firm special projects and pro bono) between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 were bonus-eligible. Associates with an adjusted budget of less than 2000 hours due to part-time work, etc., were measured against an adjusted threshold taking into account their adjusted budget.

• Timesheet compliance was closely reviewed and an eligible associate receiving a bonus earned less in the event of material non-compliance with timesheet deadlines.

• All associates other than the class of 2011 were eligible to participate in the bonus pool if hired prior to October 1, 2011. Bonuses were prorated for those associates who worked at the Firm less than full-time for the entire 2011 calendar year. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we did not prorate bonuses for our entering associates in the class of 2010 who started with us in January of 2011.

As with preceding years, the Firm strives to pay bonus levels competitive with market conditions. The following table provides an overview of our 2011 bonuses for full-time, full-year associates in U.S., Frankfurt and Asia offices.

This year, approximately 70 percent of the associates received a bonus. As always, bonus levels were increased for associates who distinguished themselves by consistently demonstrating exceptional performance that surpassed the Firm’s high standards. We note that performance expectations are steep and receipt of a bonus that exceeds the standard bonus is an exception. Approximately 28 percent of all bonus recipients distinguished themselves and were awarded bonuses at a level that exceeds the standard bonus level. Additionally, as has occurred in past years, discretionary bonuses were awarded on a limited basis to certain associates who demonstrated excellence and made significant contributions but fell short of the Firm’s hours threshold.

U.S. associates receiving year-end bonuses will receive payment, either through direct deposit or checks delivered to their office on March 23, 2012, net of taxes where applicable. If you are currently making voluntary contributions and would like to have a different amount withheld from your bonus check, you must change your deferral election with our trustee, City National Bank ( or 800-660-6282) by 1 pm PT on Friday, March 16. NOTE: this election will affect your deferral from your 3/23/12 payroll as well.

The partner or of counsel who completed your lead performance evaluation has received your bonus information. If not already scheduled, your lead evaluator will contact you soon to schedule your performance review conference to provide your performance feedback, address any performance-related questions you may have, and provide your bonus information.

Any questions you have related to the evaluation and bonus process, specific hours, proration calculations, bonus-eligibility, and bonus calculations should be directed to your evaluator or your Local Department Chair.

Thank you for your contributions to the Firm and we look forward to your continued dedication to making Paul Hastings one of the world’s leading law firms. It is your commitment to service and excellence that advances the Firm’s strategy and enhances our competitive advantage in the market. We appreciate your superb collaborative performance and loyalty to the Firm.

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Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Paul Hastings Consolidates Regular and Spring Bonus News Into One Money Orgy Announcement

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