Biglaw

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWe’re still catching up on associate bonus news. There have been some memos we’ve missed, including some from last month (technically, last year). If we haven’t reported on your firm’s bonus announcement, please email us. Don’t assume that one of your colleagues will submit the memo; that’s not necessarily the case.

Today we belatedly bring you bonus news from Kasowitz Benson. On December 31, the firm announced “benchmark” bonuses that appear to follow the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. But the memo notes that these are just “benchmark amounts, which are subject to adjustment to reflect individual performance and hours worked.” In the memo’s bonus table, the words “of up to” appear in between the words “Year-end bonus” and the dollar amount.

In addition, even some Kasowitz associates who received the full market amount aren’t happy. Find out why, and check out the full memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Kasowitz Benson”

Sherry Netherland hotel condominium.jpgIn between Christmas and New Year’s, while most of us were stuffing our faces, celebrated litigator David Boies was stuffing his own stocking — with a magnificent New York apartment. Last year was a good one for Boies Schiller associates, at least based on their bonuses. And it probably was a good one for their boss, at least based on his latest real estate purchase.

There’s no need for Boies to feel guilty, though, since it seems he got a bargain. From Bloomberg:

David Boies, the antitrust lawyer who took on Microsoft Corp. and represented Al Gore in the contested U.S. presidential election of 2000, bought a seven room apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park for $7.75 million after the price was reduced by more than 20 percent.

Boies, chairman and founder of New York-based law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, purchased a two-bedroom unit at the Sherry-Netherland hotel on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, according to city property records. The original asking price was $9.95 million, according to listing service StreetEasy.com.

More details, plus photos of the fabulous pad, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Boies’s Bargain
The legendary litigator snaps up an $8 million apartment.

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGCongratulations to the associates at Irell & Manella. The firm announced its 2009 bonuses last week, and they were good — very good.

Irell took the Sullivan & Cromwell bonus scale, which is effectively “market” for the top New York firms, and then DOUBLED IT. There was no memo — the information was communicated in an associate-wide meeting — but we have confirmed the following:

  • To associates who hit the billable hours target of 1900 hours, Irell paid bonuses that, in total, were double those paid by Sullivan & Cromwell and similar New York firms. Bonuses ranged from $15,000 for the class of 2008 to $70,000 for the class of 2002.
  • The bonuses were lockstep by seniority — i.e., not just paid to a handful of star performers or super-high billers. If you hit 1900 hours, you got the designated bonus for your class year.

The success of lockstep firms like Irell raises the question: Is lockstep the way to go? If you’ll be in Irell’s hometown of Los Angeles this Thursday, Elie and yours truly are doing two events, and one of them is a debate about lockstep. For information and RSVP details, see here.

The full Irell bonus table, plus additional information, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Irell & Manella Pays Twice S&C”

Los Angeles palm trees Above the Law blog.jpgIn light of the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in New York, Elie and yours truly have decided to visit sunny Los Angeles this Thursday, January 7. We’ll be doing two events, both of them free and open to the public (and featuring free food):
1. The Future of Big Law: A Debate
When: Thursday, January 7, 2010, 12 noon.
Speakers: David Lat and Elie Mystal, editors of Above the Law, will debate whether lockstep is the best system for associate compensation and promotion at large law firms.
Where: Room 1457, UCLA Law School, 71 Dodd Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Cost: Free. Lunch will be served.
2. Reception at Corkbar
When: Thursday, January 7, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Description: Meet and mingle with the editors of Above the Law and other lawyers from the area during this informal networking opportunity.
Where: Corkbar, 403 West 12th Street, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Cost: Free. Appetizers will be provided; no host bar.
These events are being sponsored by the Los Angeles Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, the Libertarian Law Council, and the UCLA chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society.
Both events are free and open to all, but please reserve a spot by emailing la.fedsoc@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

pyramid scheme capstone small.jpgOver the course of 2009, we covered attempts from a number of firms to replace lockstep associate compensation with a “merit based” compensation system. We have seen firm after firm (and consultant after consultant) claim that clients really care about how law firms pay their associates. And who can disagree with a term like “merit?” DLA Piper put it this way in its defense of its new, merit-based system:

At its core, this new system forces differentiation and rewards outstanding performance.

Right now, merit-based compensation is certainly winning the branding war against lockstep. There are certainly very good arguments in favor of merit compensation.
But there are also good arguments in favor of lockstep. There are reasons why lockstep is still the choice of firms considered to be the best in the country. If merit-based compensation is just a thinly veiled attempt to cut total associate compensation, that’s one thing. But let’s not forget that lockstep has some serious upside for associates, partners, and yes, clients.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: In Defense of Pure Lockstep”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWe haven’t received the official memo, but sources report that Mayer Brown (New York) has matched the Cravath scale for 2009 bonuses. A tipster simply reports:

Mayer Brown New York announced cravath bonuses today

That’s good news for the New Yorkers at the firm.

But for our tipster, wow, way to yawn about free money. You’re like the nutcracker that gets pissed about getting nuts for Christmas. (Sorry, those commercials are really annoying here in NYC.)

Perhaps the reason for the tipster’s ennui is that Mayer Brown hasn’t said anything about 2010 salaries yet. Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Mayer Brown (NY) Matches”

Los Angeles palm trees Above the Law blog.jpgIn light of the frigid temperatures and snow we’ve been experiencing here in New York, Elie and yours truly have decided to visit sunny Los Angeles on January 7, 2010. We’ll be doing two events, both of them free and open to the public:
1. The Future of Big Law
When: Thursday, January 7, 2010, 12 noon.
Speakers: David Lat and Elie Mystal, editors, Above the Law
Where: UCLA Law School, 71 Dodd Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (room TBA).
Cost: Free. Lunch will be served.
2. Reception at Corkbar
When: Thursday, January 7, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Description: Meet and mingle with the editors of Above the Law and other lawyers from the area during this informal networking opportunity.
Where: Corkbar, 403 West 12th Street, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Cost: Free. Appetizers will be provided; no host bar.
These events are being sponsored by the Los Angeles Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, the Libertarian Law Council, and the UCLA chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society.
Please reserve a spot by emailing la.fedsoc@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGLast year, associate bonuses at Wachtell Lipton dipped below 100 percent of base salary, for the first time since 2005. This year, they continued their downward slide.

But given the problems plaguing both the broader economy and the legal profession, bonuses didn’t go down by as much as many WLRK associates expected. The general reaction at 51 West 52nd Street was one of pleasant surprise: “Less than last year, but better than expected,” according to one source. The bonuses were announced last week, around the time of the Wachtell holiday party.

So how much are your friends and classmates at Wachtell taking home this year? Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Wachtell Lipton Bonuses Go Down Again”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGTime for a belated bonus announcement. A few weeks ago, associate bonuses were announced at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

The bonuses were basically on the Cravath scale, provided you meet “the bonus criteria set forth in the bonus policy.” We’re advised that the bonus criteria focus for the most part on hours, with bonuses triggered at around 2000 hours (1900 billable).

In other CWT news, we hear that two real estate partners — Alan Lawrence and John Busillo — are leaving the firm for Arnold & Porter. Sources describe them as “heavy hitters” who “still have some business.”

The CWT bonus memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Cadwalader
(Plus news of some partner moves.)

John OBrien John J OBrien headshot Sullcrom Sullivan Cromwell partner.jpgBack in April, we wondered about the departure from Sullivan & Cromwell of John O’Brien, a highly regarded and well-liked corporate partner who focused on M&A work. This development captured our interest because it’s unusual for lawyers to leave the (highly lucrative) partnership of a top firm like S&C.

When partners leave a place like Sullivan & Cromwell, there’s often a story behind the departure. E.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner left S&C after billing clients and firm for more than $500,000 in fraudulent travel and entertainment expenses).

In addition, word on the street was that O’Brien was escorted from the building by security personnel. Partners are being asked to leave their firms with increasing frequency during the recession — but they’re not usually walked out by muscle.

So we decided to do a little digging.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Did John O’Brien Leave Sullivan & Cromwell?”

Page 318 of 4591...314315316317318319320321322...459