Associate Bonus Watch 2012, Biglaw, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Cahill Gordon’s Never-Ending Bonus Bounty

As we mentioned last month, the downtown law firm of Cahill Gordon got hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. Weeks after the hurricane, lawyers and staff at Cahill are still working out of temporary space. We hear that they’ll be moving back to their normal office space in January.

But no natural disaster can stop money from raining down on Cahill associates. The firm just announced “special” bonuses that will be paid this month, in advance of usual year-end bonuses in January. And who knows — if all goes well, maybe the firm will pay summer bonuses in 2013, as it did in July 2012.

So how much is Cahill paying out this month, in advance of Cravath-level bonuses in January?

The “special” bonuses for this year don’t come as a surprise. Back in October, chairman William Hartnett informed the troops that bonuses would be forthcoming:

[I]n 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.

How much above market? Here’s what we’re hearing about the December “special” bonuses:

Class of 2011: ?
Class of 2010: $10,000
Class of 2009: $15,000
Class of 2008: ?
Class of 2007-2005: $25,000

(We’re guessing that the missing number for the class of 2008 is $20,000, but we haven’t confirmed. If you can confirm or fill in other blanks, please email us or text us, 646-820-8477.)

UPDATE (4:51 PM): The class of 2011 is receiving $10,000 as well.

UPDATE (9:00 PM): Class of 2008 associates received up to $25,000 each, actually — but there was a catch (which may apply to other class years as well). Associates had to rack up a minimum number of hours to get the full amount; otherwise they received a smaller amount. The maximum potential amount for the class of 2008 was $25,000.

Remember that these “special” bonuses are on top of Cravath-scale bonuses that will be paid in January 2013. And recall that Cahill associates previously received mid-year bonuses of $5,000 to $10,000 over the summer (in a year when most firms did not pay spring bonuses).

So what does it all add up to? One of our Cahill sources runs the numbers for one class:

Take someone in the class of 2005. They got $10k over the summer and $25k today, plus they’ll get Cravath [amount of $50K] in January, so they beat the market by $35K. [Total 2012-related bonus comp] for that class will be $85k with the Cravath amount and two specials.

Congratulations, Cahill associates, on some of the best bonuses in Biglaw. Maybe you’re not yet back in your offices, but the bonuses, “special” and otherwise, are a nice consolation prize.

Earlier: Some Downtown Biglaw Firms Seem To Be Struggling With Sandy Recovery
Associate Bonus Watch: Early Word About Cahill Gordon Bonuses

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