Don’t look now, but there is a spring bonus war brewing. I’m serious. Don’t be fooled with the way most Biglaw firms are trying to pretend that spring bonuses don’t exist. Two of the most profitable firms have entered into the spring bonus fight. And they are not in lockstep with each other.

We are, of course, talking about Quinn Emanuel and Sullivan & Cromwell. Quinn announced the fact of spring bonuses before S&C, but they didn’t announce any numbers. When S&C came out with its paltry spring bonuses a few days later, we didn’t have anything to compare it to.

Well, now we do. And the QE numbers are not going to make S&C associates happy…

As best as we’ve been able to piece it together — if you see inaccuracies or can fill in gaps, let us know — this is the S&C spring bonus scale. Prepare to be underwhelmed by the spring tips:

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

As I said last week, this scale is easily beatable.

And it appears that Quinn Emanuel has already beaten it. A Quinn tipster sent us this picture of an email from John Quinn:

Mortgage payments = something that’s not happening with a Sullivan & Cromwell spring bonus.

It seems that Quinn’s spring bonus scale is more in line with the range from last year’s spring bonus. Last year the spring bonus numbers ranged from $2,500 to $20,000.

Again, there’s no good reason for bonuses to be down this year compared to what they were last year.

Of course, Quinn Emanuel is an especially profitable firm. Its revenue is up 31%, according to the latest Am Law numbers, and it came in #2 in profit per partner (second behind Wachtell). If other firms can’t keep up with Quinn, it’s perhaps prudent for them to not keep up with Quinn’s bonuses.

That’s just something that people will have to remember during recruiting season.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Quinn Emanuel Will Pay Spring Bonuses
Breaking: Sullivan & Cromwell Announces (Paltry) Spring Bonuses
Cravath: Your Move On Spring Bonuses
The 2012 Am Law 100: Revenue and Profits Continue To Climb


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