Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits

Show Them the Money: Where Are the Spring Bonuses?

The absence of spring bonuses makes cute animals sad.

Today is March 1. By this time last year, about a dozen firms had announced spring bonuses, as you can see from our prior coverage.

This year? Crickets.

Perhaps there’s no cause for worry right now. Things are going just as my colleague Elie Mystal predicted: “You’re going to get your money. My prediction: an extra $10,000 to $20,000 depending on class year, starting with third-year associates. It might be announced really late, end of February or early March, once firms realize they need to keep their talented midlevels.”

I can’t say I share Elie’s optimism….

Don’t get me wrong: I do think there will spring bonuses. As stated in Sullivan & Cromwell’s year-end bonus announcement, “the Firm currently expects to pay a bonus in the Spring.” And if S&C pays spring bonuses, then its peer firms (and aspiring peer firms) will pay spring bonuses.

But I don’t agree with Elie’s prediction that there will be “an extra $10,000 to $20,000 depending on class year.” My prediction is that this year’s spring bonuses will be basically the same as last year’s spring bonuses (either the S&C scale or the slightly higher Cravath scale).

What are our tipsters saying about spring bonuses? Here are some representative reactions:

“Can you write about ethereal spring bonuses, please?”

“Are we going to get a follow-up piece on the complete silence surrounding spring bonuses? Time to put a little pressure on Biglaw on behalf of the voiceless associates!”

“Noticed that there hasn’t been a good kvetch post since February 3 about the fact that [March is here] and no spring bonuses!!! Are partners just too busy chillaxing in their hot tubs filled with gold flakes and underage future gunners?”

“I did the math the other day and realized that, at my billing rate, the firm has covered my entire annual compensation package in just 2-3 months! That’s nine months of pure profit!”

It’s good to be king. But, at the same time, some wealth should trickle down to the vassals. A wise prince does not abuse his power.

We can kvetch all we want, but what really moves markets is hard news. If your firm (oh hai S&C!) announces spring bonuses, please let us know ASAP, so we can shout the news from the rooftops — and improve the lot of associates all across the land.

UPDATE (4/26/2012): Spring bonuses have been announced at S&C.

Earlier: Spring Bonuses? Anybody? The Silence Isn’t Funny Anymore.

(hidden for your protection)

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