Earlier this month, the top-flight California firm of Irell & Manella announced associate bonuses. Historically Irell has paid well above market. Last year, for example, Irell paid double the going rate (as set by Cravath and the other major New York firms).

So what did Irell do this time around?

Once again, it beat the market — although by less than it has in years past. Last year, for example, Irell paid double Cravath. This year, with Cravath paying more, Irell fell slightly short of paying twice Cravath.

Although there was no memo this time, here’s what we understand to be the approximate bonus scale for Irell associates who hit 2000 hours, with the Cravath/NYC market amount noted parenthetically:

Class of 2011: $17,500 (market: $10,000)
Class of 2010: ?
Class of 2009: $35,000 (market: $20,000)
Class of 2008: $47,000 (market: $27,000)
Class of 2007: $60,000 (market: $34,000)

Note that these amounts are approximate. If you have corrections or additional class years, please email us or text us (646-820-8477), and we’ll update accordingly.

UPDATE (4:15 PM): The class of 2010 bonus was $24,000 (market: $14,000).

How did Irell associates receive the news? Reactions were mixed. Many were pleased:

“Irell & Manella killed market last week — gave us Cravath plus a ‘good year’ bonus.”

“Irell, once again, crushed and nearly doubled Cravath bonuses.”

But there were dissenting voices:

“Good, but firm had its best year ever and total comp was down from 2011.”

That’s because, in 2011, Irell paid mid-year bonuses as well as year-end bonuses.

Even if they might not measure up to 2011 standards, the Irell bonuses for 2012 are still plenty generous. Congratulations to the Irell associates on their bonus bounty.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Irell Whacks Cravath, Again


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