Max bonus in the DC office was $75k. Minimum was zero. Average bonus ranged, by class year, from $16k for 2nd years to $55k for 7th years. Bonuses are all merit-based — while hours are the main factor, there is no set scale or cutoff. About 2/3 of eligible associates (i.e. those at the firm before August 1) got bonuses.
We previouslyreported that Covington & Burling, in their New York office, paid special and year-end bonuses at market levels. But what did they do in their other offices around the country?
The firm takes its sweet time, for one thing. Last month, a tipster there wrote us:
The D.C. office of Covington & Burling still has not paid bonuses to associates. When our peers at other firms (and in NY) got bonuses months ago, it seems offensive and stingy to hold out on the bonus payment…
But that’s the way things have always been. We contacted Covington and learned, through a spokesperson, that “it’s been our firm’s policy for years that our bonus schedule is around April 1 in all markets, except New York.”
So today is April 1. Do you know where the Covington bonuses are — and what they’re like this year?
If so — or if you have bonus news on another major national law firm, not previously covered in these pages — please email us (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”). Thanks. Update: We’ve learned that in Covington’s San Francisco office, bonuses ranged from $5K to $65K (but don’t have any more details). Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Covington & Burling (New York) Associate Bonus Watch: A Few More Updates
Sorry we’re late to the party on this HuffPo post, bearing the provocative title “Law Firm Segregation Reminiscent of Jim Crow.” It’s by Yolanda Young, a former staff attorney at Covington & Burling. Her claim, in a nutshell, is that Covington fills the ranks of its “staff attorney ghetto” with African-Americans, while the ranks of its partnership and partnership-track associate pool are overwhelmingly white.
Young’s post has already been discussed at Legal Blog Watch and the WSJ Law Blog. But considering how we love to fan flames of racial tension follow the issue of diversity in the legal profession so closely here at ATL, of course we’re going to cover it.
The holiday season is pretty much over, and bonus season kinda is, too. But it’s not completely over, so we’ll still bring you occasional updates on news that comes across our desk. If you have information to share, please email us (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”).
While placing info in the comments is helpful, comments aren’t subject to verification and follow-up in the same way as emails. Also, due to sheer volume, we can’t (and don’t) read every last comment. So email is still the best way to send us bonus info (or request that we cover a given topic).
Here are some associate bonus odds and ends:
1. Quinn Emanuel: Lots of unhappy campers. The upshot is that they employed a very bright-line 2100 hours cutoff to get the full bonus. More details, after the jump.
2. Fish & Richardson: They announced a new compensation plan back in November. It didn’t go over so well. To their credit, they seem to be reversing themselves (for the most part; look out for a higher hours requirement). More details, after the jump.
3. Covington & Burling (New York): We previously reported on their special bonuses, which matched market. In case you were wondering, they’re also paying the standard year-end bonuses (in New York).
4. Bracewell & Giuliani (New York): We haven’t written much about them before. But since name partner Rudy Giuliani is in the news a lot lately, thanks to his presidential bid, and some folks were kind enough to send their memo our way, we provide their bonus announcement after the jump.
5. Kasowitz Benson: We also haven’t written much about Kasowitz Benson before. It’s a very profitable shop, and a bit on the secretive side. Since several people passed along their bonus memo, though, we’re happy to post it after the jump.
It’s good to be an associate at Covington & Burling these days.
There’s the cleaned-up Wikipedia entry. There are, for New York associates, spiffy new offices in the Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building. One Covington associate describes the new digs as “spectacular,” with views of the Statue of Liberty, George Washington Bridge, and Empire State Building. “They are a bit cold and impersonal, but we are a law firm, after all.”
Also for New York associates: special bonuses. Check out the Covington (New York) bonus memo, after the jump.
We were pleasantly surprised by the robust and intelligent discussion in the comments to our earlier open thread, Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 1-5. There were over 100 comments, and many of them were quite informative. So we will press on.
The next five firms up for bids, in Vault 100 order (prestige scores in parentheses):
Some good news for law clerks heading to the New York office of Covington & Burling after their clerkships. A source at the firm directed us to check out this updated section of their website:
We reward judicial clerks who come directly to the firm following their clerkship(s) with credit for purposes of both salary and partnership consideration, together with a $50,000 bonus for one clerkship and a $70,000 bonus for two clerkships for those who have clerked for a federal judge, or for the highest court in any state or the District of Columbia.
So add a new member to the $50K/$70K Club. But note that Covington is taking the Ropes & Gray approach: the new and improved clerkship bonuses are paid out in New York only. In Washington and San Francisco, the firm still pays a $35,000 clerkship bonus. Update: Also noteworthy, per a commenter: “This is different from the other $70K bonuses in that it only applies to people with two-clerkships, rather than one two-year clerkship.”
In addition, we’ve heard a rumor that Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000. But we haven’t seen the email, and Willkie’s website and NALP form don’t reflect this info. If you can confirm, please drop us a line.
A “List of Shame” for top firms paying below-market clerkship bonuses, after the jump.
The rumors were correct (as they so often are). Before the Memorial Day weekend, Covington & Burling raised associate salaries to the $160K scale. The raise is retroactive to May 1, and summer associates are in on the fun.
Alas, it took us a while to get our hands on the memo. We obtained it only after threatening people with Gitmo making affirmative requests of multiple sources at the firm.
C’mon, folks — show us a little love. We can’t accurately track law firm salary developments without your help. If you have a pay raise memo we haven’t previously posted, stop holding out on us. Please send it to us by email.
The fruit of our labors, namely, the Covington memo, after the jump.
Last week, we exhorted candidates to step it up for the high wedding season, and this week’s couples really responded. In fact, they brought the fabulosity in such a big way that LEWW has spent some anguished nights picking the three most deserving entries for this column.
Consider this: Our three featured couples are all lawyer-lawyer matings in which the least prestigious JDs are the two from Harvard! In order to narrow our list, we had to eliminate a gorgeous Harvard-Columbia offering with Skadden overtones and a robust NYU-Stanford entry with a wonderful floral bouquet.
LEWW is just sick about passing over all these shiny credentials. Now we know what a dean of admissions at a top-10 law school feels like!
Here are the amazing couples who made the initial cut:
If you’re trying to figure out what the new standard salaries are going to be in DC, it’s hard to ignore Covington & Burling. Covington is regarded by many as the archetypal Washington law firm.
As previously noted in the comments, we have confirmed pay raises for Covington associates. We thank the multiple sources who sent us this memo (in various forms):
Our tipsters draw our attention to these highlights:
“Covington DC salaries are same as Hogan, but 7th and 8th years (1999 and 2000 classes) at Covington will be paid $5,000 less than at Hogan & Hartson (assuming billables of 1950 or more). No explanation provided for why senior associate salaries are now less at Covington than at Hogan.”
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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