Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Willkie Farr

Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie Farr and Shearman & Sterling

Is it our imagination, or is the 2013 bonus season unfolding at a glacial pace? Maybe because these bonuses are just the reheated bonuses from last year, they feel like they’re coming out of the fridge.

Cravath announced on Monday. Skadden announced on Tuesday. Cleary announced on Wednesday. Nobody announced on Thursday (as far as we know; if we missed your firm’s announcement, please email us or text us (646-820-8477)).

Today we got the Friday afternoon bonus news dump. We have announcements from Willkie Farr and Shearman & Sterling. What are these two firms doing?

They’re matching the Cravath 2013 bonus scale, of course. Willkie is also copying the Cravath payout date of Friday, December 20.

Shearman is paying out a little later, on January 15. That’s not new for the firm; it’s what Shearman did last year and the year before.

One caveat on Shearman: it’s not a “true” or super-strict match. As noted in the CSM bonus memo, Cravath is a lockstep firm, meaning that everyone in a given class year gets the same bonus, regardless of hours or performance. What we call a “true” match preserves this across-the-board quality, while a looser version — call it an “effective” match, or a match for practical purposes — gives most associates Cravath-scale bonuses, but gives some associates higher bonuses and some associates lower bonuses. An effective match is what Shearman is doing once again, as it has done in years past (including last year).

We always appreciate the actual bonus memos so we can consider these finer points. If you can share a bonus memo with us — for Willkie, Shearman, or any other firm (including firms we’ve already covered) — we’d be most grateful. If you don’t want to use a firm-issued smartphone for transmittal, take a photograph of the memo with your personal smartphone or tablet over the weekend, then email us a picture. Thanks!

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie Farr
Associate Bonus Watch: Shearman & Sterling

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