Biglaw, Billable Hours, Bonuses, Money

Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert’s Price For Associate Talent

When it comes to law firm bonus news, there’s no such thing as “too late.” Heck, we covered Wachtell Lipton’s bonuses for 2011 and 2012 just last week.

If you have Biglaw bonus news that we have not yet covered, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). We’re always happy to hear from you.

Last month, Dechert announced the price it pays for associate talent. Let’s travel down this bonus road, shall we?

We’ve posted the Dechert bonus memo, from chairman Andrew Levander and CEO Daniel O’Donnell, on the next page. As you can see, it’s consistent with the firm’s past practice.

The upshot: Dechert built its bonus scheme around the Cravath scale, with associates in good standing who hit 1950 “bonus hours” (a Dechert term of art) generally getting the standard market bonus, and associates in the 1850-1950 range generally receiving reduced bonuses.

We say “generally” because the memo provides for individual variation. Some associates below the 1850-hour mark will still get bonuses, and some associates with “exceptionally high earning hours” who have made “significant contributions to the firm” will get above-market bonuses.

How are Dechert associates reacting to the news? “No surprise,” said one source, who fell a bit below the magic number for hours and received a sub-Cravath bonus. “Considering I would not have been eligible for higher than market anyways, I can’t say it bothered me.”

Congratulations to the Dechert associates on their bonuses, which should hit bank accounts later this week. Flip to the next page to read the full memo if interested.

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