Biglaw, Bonuses, Bracewell & Giuliani, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits

Associate Bonus Watch: Paul Weiss Lawyers Don’t Think Bonus Is So Nice
(Plus Bonus News From Bracewell & Giuliani)

Last week, we joked about the glacial pace of the 2013 Biglaw bonus season. After all, Cravath made its announcement on December 9, and in that time, we’ve only heard from as many firms as days have passed since that time — seven.

Well, maybe things are finally heating up. Yesterday afternoon, two more firms sent out word of their associate bonuses by class.

We know Paul Weiss is looking hot, hot, hot these days, but were their bonuses just as sexy? And what about the bonuses at Bracewell & Giuliani, a firm that posted a double-digit increase in gross revenue?

Sadly, neither firm beat Cravath, despite their financial chops. It’s just another match, from both firms. According to the latest Am Law 100 rankings, Bracewell’s revenue increased by 19.7 percent to $325,000,000 and Paul Weiss’s increased by 12.4 percent to $877,000,000. We guess it takes even more money than that to be a leader than it does to be a follower.

One of our tipsters from Paul Weiss isn’t exactly thrilled about the firm’s bonuses, and we imagine that others must feel the same way: “This is Paul, Weiss’ most profitable year EVER — EVER. Since the financial crisis, their PPP has only gone up, yet compensation has not. You’d think they’d want to share that with the people on whose backs they climbed. But no one has the balls — or the heart — to do it.”

Paul Weiss may be looking nice, but its attorneys don’t think it’s doing so hot in the bonus department. It seems like our tipster has a right to be upset. In the most recent Am Law 100 rankings, PPP at Paul Weiss was up by 8.2 percent to $3,350,000, with a 49 percent profit margin. Come on, share the wealth.

We’ve also got some news on bonuses from name partner Rudy Giuliani’s firm, Bracewell & Giuliani. We don’t typically write much about this firm’s bonuses — in fact, it looks like the last time we did was way back in 2008. From what we know, Bracewell’s bonuses are typically paid out in February. A source from Bracewell says: “I don’t think anyone around here was surprised that the Firm was going to match the market. We just wish Cravath went higher!” Aww, that’s cute, but sorry pal. Maybe next year, when Cravath’s PPP isn’t just a shade higher than that of Paul Weiss.

UPDATE (12/14/2013, 11:45 a.m.): Bracewell’s New York office always matches the Cravath scale, but associates in other firms might get less, according to Am Law Daily:

Bracewell’s New York managing partner, Daniel Connolly, said the firm has matched the market rates in New York since opening its Manhattan office eight years ago. The firm notifies associates in its other offices — who are eligible for as much as, but possibly less than, their New York counterparts — about their bonuses in February.

If we missed your firm’s announcement, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). And remember, we always appreciate an actual bonus memo, so send one if you can. Thanks!

(If you’re interested, bonus memos from Daniel S. Connolly, managing partner of Bracewell, and Brad S. Karp, chairman of Paul Weiss, can be found on the next page.)

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