One of the most noteworthy deals of the new year is Google’s recently announced $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, a maker of Internet-connected devices like thermostats and smoke alarms that was founded by former Apple engineers. Orrick, a firm known for its strong roster of tech clients, is advising Nest. The Orrick team is led by the firm’s chairman, Mitchell Zuklie.

That’s not the only noteworthy news out of Orrick this week. Yesterday the firm announced its 2013 associate bonuses. How are they looking?

In short, they seem substantially similar to 2012’s bonuses. As was the case last year, although the firm “do[es] not have a strict hours requirement… associates had the best chance of receiving a merit bonus if they had 1900 client representation hours (billable, pro bono, and Orrick as a client) plus a PDC rating of VG or E” (very good or excellent).” For 2013, 74 percent of all bonus-eligible U.S. associates will receive a merit bonus; this is slightly down from, but roughly in line with, 2012’s figure of 79 percent.

Here’s the Orrick bonus table, comparing its bonuses with the market rates (click to enlarge):

As you can see, the Orrick top bonuses are the same as last year’s. This makes sense, since Cravath and its many followers also kept bonuses constant.

Those are the maximum bonuses, which don’t tell us much about the distribution of bonuses among Orrick associates in general. These bullets, setting forth how many Orrick associates will receive above-market bonuses, are more informative:

The figure of 37 percent of bonus-receiving associates getting above-market bonuses represents a small decrease from last year’s number of 42 percent. The upshot: Orrick’s 2013 bonuses seem solid, but not spectacular.

Under Orrick’s merit-based system, promotion is not automatic. Performance evaluations will take place over the next two weeks, which is when associates will be informed of their 2014 base salary and 2013 bonus. Bonuses for 2013 will be paid out on Friday, February 7.

Congratulations to the Orrick folks on their bonuses. If you’d like to see the full memo — which also includes details on Orrick’s “time lag incentive program,” designed to reward the timely entry of hours (and to punish the dilatory entry of hours) — flip to the next page.


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