Associate Bonus Watch 2012, Biglaw, Billable Hours, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Are Hours Requirements Getting Blown Back?

So far, no firm has stepped up and paid out bonuses early to help people struggling with Hurricane Sandy. Given the Nor’easter, associates might just burn the money to stay warm.

But at least one firm is being proactive about adjusting expectations because of the crazy weather patterns. Sandy essentially took a week away from billables, and so the firm is knocking a week off the minimum hour requirement….

Honestly, most firms would be like, “You didn’t have power for a week? Awww… guess you’ll be working double time next week.” But Patterson Belknap decided to be, dare I say, “reasonable,” with regard to expectations of associates.

A tipster explains that the firm normally has a target of 1850 billable hours and 2100 total hours (consisting of billable hours plus “related non-billable hours”). Here’s the memo from the firm:

The effects of Hurricane Sandy have hampered the ability of many of our associates to be fully productive last week. Accordingly, the firm has decided to reduce the bonus targets for this year by one full week. The full time bonus targets for 2012 are now:

Billable 1,810

Total 2,054

If you are on a flexible work arrangement, please reduce your current billable target by 40 hours times your appropriate percentage and your total hours by 46 hours times your appropriate percentage. As a quick reference, below are a few of the more frequent flexible work arrangements:

80% reduce your billable target by 32 hours and your total hours by 36.8

70% reduce your billable target by 28 hours and your total hours by 32.2

60% reduce your billable target by 24 hours and your total hours by 27.6

That’s cool. Really, that is mighty decent of Patterson Belknap. No wonder the firm gets an A+ grade from Above the Law readers who work there.

Maybe other Biglaw firms with minimum hours requirements will follow suit? This weather has been a real problem. We just had a snowstorm a week after a hurricane, which is kind of like having a Xanax after enjoying a night of cocaine: it doesn’t “even things out,” so much as it “might kill you.”

Earlier: If Partners Really Have Souls, Bonuses Will Be Early This Year

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