Associate Bonus Watch 2011, Biglaw, Bonuses, Cheapness, Money

Breaking: Sullivan & Cromwell Announces (Paltry) Spring Bonuses

Lat here. In late March, I wrote a story with this title: “Sullivan & Cromwell Will Pay Spring Bonuses — But Will They Be Too Small To Be Worth Matching?”

I’m sad to report that my prediction has come to pass. Sullivan & Cromwell has announced spring bonuses, but they’re nothing to write home about. They are probably too modest for other firms to bother matching. The spring bonuses of Quinn Emanuel will surely exceed the S&C amounts.

Sullivan promised spring bonuses in its 2011 year-end bonus memo, and it reiterated that promise on subsequent occasions. But the powers that be at S&C never said anything as to amounts, leading some to forecast wimpy payouts.

So how much are we talking about? Let’s find out, and get some color commentary from my colleague, Elie Mystal….

UPDATE (4:20 PM): We’re continuing to update this post. Go after the jump and refresh.

These amounts are anemic. Right now we’re hearing the following:

Class of 2011 — $1,000
Class of 2010 — $1,000
Class of 2009 — $2,500
Class of 2008 — $2,500
Class of 2007 — $2,500
Class of 2006 — $5,000

If you can fill in any of the gaps, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). We will update as we acquire more information.

UPDATE (4:20 PM): Compare these to last year’s spring bonuses at S&C:

Class of 2010: $2,500
Class of 2009: $7,500
Class of 2008: $10,000
Class of 2007: $10,000
Class of 2006: $12,500
Class of 2005: $15,000
Class of 2004: $17,500
Class of 2003: $20,000
2002+: $20,000

As you will recall, the Cravath spring bonuses were even higher. (If you want to see last year’s total bonus amounts at both Cravath and S&C, computed by adding the 2010 year-end bonuses to the 2011 spring bonuses, click here.)

Not surprisingly, people are upset. I yield the floor to my colleague Elie for his color commentary.

Elie here. This isn’t a bonus, it’s a tip. For Biglaw partners, this is spare change. They left it on the table as a reward for having a full coffee cup throughout breakfast. Biglaw partners basically slapped an associate on the ass, stuffed a ten-dollar bill down her bra, and said, “Don’t spend it all in one place.”

Well, you know what, I suggest you spend it all in one place. Seriously. This money is a joke. Letting it sit in your bank account is a joke. Pretending that this is a “bonus” is a joke.

So treat it like found money and blow it on something frivolous and fun. Make a memory out of it because you can’t buy anything durable of value with your after-tax bonus of $1,000 when you already owe 100 times that in debt. Go take your friends out for drinks. Go buy a hooker. Go buy some rims for your car. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. NOTHING MATTERS. Associates worked very hard for a year and partners pocketed profits. That’s how it works, that’s how it always works, the partners just didn’t pay for any lube this time.

So, what are you going to do? Cry about it? Shake your fist at cruel fate? Sometimes you just have to say “what the f***.” So drink it or eat it or put it up your nose.

It’s a nice tip. Try to enjoy it. Let us know your plans for it, in the comments.

Earlier: Sullivan & Cromwell Will Pay Spring Bonuses — But Will They Be Too Small To Be Worth Matching?
An Oracular Utterance from Sullivan & Cromwell on Spring Bonuses
Associate Bonus Watch: Sullivan & Cromwell ‘Beats’ Cravath — and Promises Spring Bonuses
Associate Bonus Watch: Sullivan & Cromwell Pays Generous Spring Bonuses!
Associate Bonus Watch: Cravath Enters the Bonus Wars — and Beats S&C!

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