Biglaw, Bonuses, Money, Texas

Associate Bonus Watch: Very Elated At Vinson & Elkins

Back in 2011, we complained about the complexity of Vinson & Elkins’s compensation system, which involved a deferred compensation arrangement. The next year, the firm fixed it.

Last year, when ATL readers rated Texas law firms, Vinson & Elkins came in #5 out of 6 firms in terms of associate satisfaction with compensation. But maybe the firm has fixed that as well?

Based on the reports we’ve heard so far, associates at V&E are in fact V.E. — “Very Elated” — about their bonuses….

(Please note the very important UPDATE added to the end of this post — and reflected in our tinkering with the title. Some people are less than thrilled….)

Earlier this week, Vinson & Elkins sent out individualized bonus letters to associates. All the sources we’ve heard from received above-market bonuses. One tipster, a midlevel associate with solid hours, received a bonus that beat the Cravath scale by $10,000. A second source, a stub-year first-year, got a total of $3,000 — $2,500 in a main bonus and $500 in a supplemental bonus.

Yes, that’s right: a “special” bonus. What is this, 2007?

According to our midlevel tipster, “The individual memo said a portion of this was a ‘special’ bonus because the firm had a record year. Word is that special bonuses went to associates, counsel, and all staff as well, which is nice. I think anyone who had decent hours is really happy.”

How good a year was it for the firm? Said our junior associate source, “It’s been a banner year. There was basically never a slow point through 2013, and while most people aren’t extremely swamped, practically everyone is consistently busy across all of the offices and groups.”

Not getting killed, but “consistently busy”: sounds like Biglaw paradise. Congratulations to Vinson & Elkins associates on their great bonuses, and congratulations to the firm on its strong performance in 2013.

UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): A new tipster told us, after this story went up:

Your VE post is [not accurate]. VE class of 2011 base bonus was $5k with a $1k “special” vs. $14k at Cravath. VE class of 2010 was $10k vs. $20k at Cravath, etc. The general tone is not “very elated.”

But what about our source who beat the Cravath scale by $10,000?

VE pays higher bonuses at 2300-plus hours. The numbers I gave you for the classes of 2010 and 2011 [are for] 1900-2300 hours.

So when it comes to VE, YMMV — “Your Mileage May Vary.” Feel free to share additional data points and opinions about Vinson & Elkins comp in the comments.

Earlier: ATL Law Firm Ratings: Texas Edition
Associate Bonus Watch (2012): Vinson & Elkins Ditches Deferred Compensation (In Part)
Associate Bonus Watch: Vinson & Elkins Gives Me A Headache Takes Spring Bonuses to Texas

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