Tracking associate bonuses at Cahill Gordon gets confusing. It seems that the firm is announcing or paying out associate bonuses every other month.

That’s an exaggeration, of course. But let’s look at the record. The firm paid summer bonuses back in July. It paid Cravath-scale bonuses back in January. And it paid “special bonuses” back in December.

Now we’re hearing more news about Cahill bonuses. Could this bode well for Biglaw bonuses generally?

Yesterday, in a meeting with Cahill corporate associates, chairman William Hartnett had some words about bonuses. He stated that Cahill associates would be receiving “extra” bonuses at the end of the year — namely, the “special” bonuses that the firm sometimes pays out, in its discretion, in December. The firm then pays Cravath-level bonuses in January. So, according to Bill Hartnett, Cahill associates will receive “above market” bonus comp this year.

The December bonuses at Cahill depend upon performance of the firm; they are discretionary, and Cahill doesn’t always pay them (although it has paid them in the past few years). The fact that Hartnett has committed to paying them this year, in a meeting in early October, suggests that Cahill is having a fairly good 2012 thus far.

Is Cahill just an outlier? Or are the gloomy forecasts we’ve been hearing about Biglaw financial performance for 2012 somewhat overblown? Feel free to share your bonus season predictions in the comments.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Cahill Gordon Brings the Heat
Associate Bonus Watch: Summer Fun at Quinn Emanuel (And news from Cahill Gordon too.)
Associate Bonus Watch: It’s Cahill Time (aka Time for Cravath Associates To Feel Bad, Again)


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