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law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgSo much for O’Melveny & Myers setting the bonus market for L.A. Proskauer Rose announced their bonuses this afternoon, and they will be paying the Cravath scale across all of their offices.

That’s good news if you’re in Boston, expected news if you’re in New York, and a slightly disappointing confrontation with reality if you’re in Los Angeles.

This bonus news comes less than a month after Proskauer announced layoffs of 35 associates and 25 administrative staff. We even have reports that some Proskauer first-year associates were laid off this month. Against that backdrop, still having a job is hopefully bonus enough for those still at Proskauer.

Proskauer declined to follow OMM’s bonus lead; will they follow Latham’s salary lead? We don’t have any word on the status of Proskauer’s pay raises, but at this point, no news is good news.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Proskauer Cuts 60 People

Prior ATL coverage of associate bonuses

Facebook logo MySpace Friendster Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* “Does Your Law Firm Face-block? Take this Survey!” [Stem Legal]

* News you can use: how to drink in a work-related context. Hey ladies: “some male attorneys will probably try to get you drunk in order to hook up with you.” [Concurring Opinions]

* Written without irony by Eliot Spitzer: “As Justice Brandeis observed, sunlight is the best disinfectant.” [Slate]

* Marc Dreier got by with a little help from his friend: former stockbroker Kosta Kovachev, another alleged impersonator. [City Room / NYT]

* Sorry, Hillary — the $13.2 million you lent your presidential campaign is not tax-deductible. [TaxProf Blog]

* Credit Crunch: The Board Game. If only emerging from bankruptcy were as easy as playing a “get out of Chapter 11″ card. [The Economist]

Women lawyers pay.JPGA new book details the challenges that women face as they try to climb the corporate ladder. Author Kathy Caprino argues that in many instances women’s contributions are hard to compare against “hours” and “profits.”

Careful not to blame their male counterparts, Caprino says many female professionals are dominated at work by generally white-male competitive career models that emphasize linear career paths and the assumption that top-performing women are motivated most by money and power.

Nicole Nehama Auerbach, of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms, takes Caprino’s analysis a step further and argues that women have been socialized in ways that aren’t always compatible with Biglaw success:

Women often bring intangibles to the firm such as nurturing business and a knack for making client teams work, Auerbach says. And these are qualities are difficult to quantify compared to billing hours in a profit-driven world.

“I think a lot of the issues she seizes upon would never be issues men would point to as a reason for not succeeding,” Auerbach says. “Traditionally, women are not as vocal about getting what they want; women were previously conditioned not to complain. That’s very different from the way a lot of men were raised.”

Is this type of analysis really all that helpful? More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Twelve Crises for Corporate Women”

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgDear Jones Day threadjackers:

Here is your post about the Jones Day bonus. Now please put the lotion in the basket and give me back my dog.

Okay. Yesterday, Jones Day sent around its individual compensation letters. Traditionally, Jones Day makes bonus decisions on a case-by-case basis. This year is no different, but a tipster reports that the firm has generally decided to follow the Cravath scale.

Jones Day doesn’t have a billable hours requirement. But because of the individual nature of the firm’s decisions, some associates could be receiving more than people at Cravath, while some could get far less.

We also understand that Jones Day does everything it can to keep associates from knowing what the guy down the hall is taking home. A tipster reports:

All comp is confidential here. So no one knows what anyone else gets, unless you spill the beans, which is strongly discouraged. You just get your personal comp letter with your numbers.

Firm spokespeople could not be reached for comment about their bonus structure.

Our tipsters weigh in after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Jones Day. Bonus. Discuss.”

Brent Warren Yessin lawyer of the day.jpgThe Saturday night antics of two Florida lawyers have the makings of a great episode of the Jerry Springer show. Alleged sex in a bathroom, a girl-on-girl fighting match, and legal misrepresentation.

Lawyer-lobbyist Lawyer Aimee Marie Dias, 35, was at a swanky restaurant in Tampa on Saturday night. When she went to use the bathroom, she discovered a man and woman allegedly doing the Tampa tango. We don’t understand the sequence of events from this point, but apparently Dias threw a punch at the copulating duo. This led to a brawl between the women that spilled out into the restaurant with the ladies on “the floor rolling around exchanging punches, pushes,” according to the ABA Journal.

Labor and employment law attorney Brent Warren Yessin, 44, was waiting for the valet when police arrived. He decided to enter the fray, telling police he represented the parties involved. Though Dias and the rest denied this, Yessin was insistent. Apparently, very insistent:

[Yessin] was wrestled to the ground by four officers after he kept insisting that he represented one of the suspects and refused repeated requests to leave the restaurant, the Times reports.

Yessin was charged with obstructing an officer without violence, and apparently jailed for four hours until he posted $1,000 bail. Both Dias and Jacolow were initially arrested for battery, but agreed to drop the charges against each other.

A few lessons here: if you’re going to have sex in a public restroom, do it in a stall. If you walk in on public sex, don’t throw punches. If you’re waiting for valet, don’t try to pick up clients mid-brawl. If you live in Tampa, move away. Far, far away.

[Ed. note: Aimee Marie Dias has no relation to Aimee Marie Diaz whose profile we linked to originally.]

Best. Fracas. Ever. [The Legal Satyricon]

Female Lawyer in Fistfight, Male Lawyer Arrested in Wild Restaurant Scene [ABA Journal]

Report’s Topics: Bathroom Sex, Lawyer’s Arrest, Fight [Tampa Tribune]

On the Debevoise & Plimpton bonus post, one irate associate wrote:

Debevoise Plimpton LLP Above the Law blog.jpgDebevoise associates broke their backs this year on the Siemens case and covering for those who were on Siemens. Even though there was a slowdown in the 4th quarter, profits before then were “record-breaking” — i.e. MORE than the 25% boost Deb had last year. Last year PEP went from $1.81 million to a new high of $2.29 million. Partners are going to be bringing home this much or more this year. Understandably, next year’s bonus will decrease with the recession, but not sharing more equitably with associates now during the flush year when we flew around the globe at a moment’s notice, didn’t see our families for weeks, and worked all nighters in corners of the globe, is a huge slap in the face.

We wonder how this Debevoise drone felt after reading the long article on the Siemens bribery case published over the weekend in the New York Times (based on a joint report by ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization; “Frontline,” the PBS program; and the NYT):

Officials in the United States began investigating the [Siemens] case shortly after the raids became public. Knowing that it faced steep fines unless it cooperated, Siemens hired an American law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, to conduct an internal investigation and to work with federal investigators.

As German and American investigators worked together to develop leads, Debevoise and its partners dedicated more than 300 lawyers, forensic analysts and staff members to untangle thousands of payments across the globe, according to the court records. American investigators and the Debevoise lawyers conducted more than 1,700 interviews in 34 countries. They collected more than 100 million documents, creating special facilities in China and Germany to house records from that single investigation. Debevoise and an outside auditor racked up 1.5 million billable hours, according to court documents. Siemens has said that the internal inquiry and related restructurings have cost it more than $1 billion.

Readers, let’s treat this like a management consulting case study. How much will Debevoise’s profits per partner in 2008 be boosted by those 1.5 million billable hours and $1 billion in spending by Siemens? Your conjecture is welcome in the comments.

At Siemens, Bribery Was Just a Line Item [New York Times]

Venable logo.jpgVenable is generally not a market leader when it comes to associate bonuses or salary. In fact, they usually don’t announce their bonuses until January.

But today at 3:00 p.m. associates have been called in to discuss “the firm’s 2008 results and outlook for 2009.”

Kirkland had a meeting today to discuss the obvious, and maybe Venable is doing the same thing. But a tipster is at least slightly concerned about the need for today’s festivities:

Considering that we don’t usually hear anything about bonuses or salaries until January (and we’re definitely NOT market), it should be interesting to see what goes down at this meeting.

Our tipster is concerned because of Latham. So far, top firms haven’t followed Latham’s salary freeze lead. But some firms do seem to be hedging their bets and putting off decisions until January.

By the end of today, we should know where Venable stands.

Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Freeze Watch: Latham & Watkins

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgThe big bonus / salary meeting at Kirkland & Ellis is still ongoing. But tipsters are now reporting that K&E is essentially designing its bonus scheme around the Cravath scale (subject to the Kirkland system of adjusting bonuses for hours and performance — “above class,” “with class,” “below class,” etc.).

We’ve also heard some good news: K&E plans to raise salaries on schedule.

While the bonus news is not terribly surprising, it’s still depressing to associates who felt that K&E had a strong year:

What’s maybe most upsetting is I was told specifically that [the Kirkland bonus grid] was based off the Cravath scale. Not that the firm was hurting. Not that the firm was being conservative. Not that the firm has a pessimistic outlook on 2009. Just that someone else was getting away with being cheap, and they wanted to do the same.

That’s a constant theme from associates working at firms that have followed Cravath. This year bonus payments seem much more tied to Cravath’s announcement, instead of a reflection on the strength of the firm’s year.

But maybe firms are just trying to hunker down for a rough 2009.

Update (11:53 AM): Check out some more reader reactions after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Kirkland & Ellis”

Thacher.jpgAs Thacher Proffitt prepares to shut down, the “how did this happen” reports can begin. AmLaw Daily notes that while other firms had banner years in 2007, Thacher was already struggling:

Thacher entered 2008 already struggling financially. The firm had suffered a dismal 2007, with gross revenue growing only 1.6 percent to $194.5 million and profits per partner dropping 22.1 percent to $1.02 million. The year to come didn’t treat the firm much better, especially come September, when several bank clients either collapsed or went into hasty mergers.

As we noted many times in these pages, a merger with King & Spalding had been the best hope for TPW to remain in business:

For months, Thacher had tried and failed to convince King & Spalding to acquire the firm outright. Discussions with the Atlanta-based firm to instead hire a chunk of its lawyers had plodded along for weeks. A deal to hire about 75 lawyers was close, but still not final, two sources at the firms say. With time running out for the 150-year-old firm, Thacher’s lawyers began talking to others, including Sonnenschein.

At least Sonnenschein was able to step in a save a lot of jobs. But after the jump, things are still pretty somber over at TPW today.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Anatomy of a Dissolution: Closing the Loop on Thacher Proffitt”

child learns adult games.jpg* This is one former Clintonite that Obama won’t tap for his cabinet. California lawyer Wade Rowland Sanders, a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy under Clinton, was netted in a child porn investigation, with a whopping 600 images on his computer. [CNN]

* There are many reasons to object to the U.S. taxpayers bailing out financial services companies, but this is the most creative by far. The Thomas More Law Center has filed suit against Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Federal Reserve. The non-profit law firm that promotes conservative Christian values says Paulson & co. are promoting Shariah law by bailing out AIG. [Fox News]

* Those Brazilians really love their caipiriihinas with their cars. Party-loving Brazilians chafe under the country’s new “dry law.” Critics of the zero tolerance for drunk driving crackdown liken it to “terrorism,” calling it unconstitutional and authoritarian. [Washington Post]

* The FBI whistleblower in the Ted Stevens case is alleging wrongdoing by the prosecution. The former Alaskan senator’s attorneys request once again that the case be dismissed or a new trial held. [Politico]

* Maybe that angry Biglaw first year was right. Over fifty percent of the respondents in our (admittedly unscientific) survey reported hours hoarding is happening at their firms. [Vizu Poll Results]

* You heard it here (first!) yesterday. RIP Thacher Proffitt & Wood. [Bloomberg]

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgDechert has been the subject of a lot of bad news lately. The associates still at the firm will be pleased to know that they will be getting a market bonus for hanging on this long:

We are pleased to announce that we will be paying base bonuses for 2008 to associates in each of our U.S. offices as set forth below. The following base bonuses will be payable to those qualified associates in good standing at the time the bonuses are paid who have 1950 hours (billable, pro bono and nonbillable in accordance with past practices) in 2008.

Class of 2007: $17,500
Class of 2006: $20,000
Class of 2005: $22,500
Class of 2004: $25,000
Class of 2003: $27,500
Class of 2002: $30,000
Class of 2001: $32,500
Class of 2000: $32,500

For high billers, the payouts increase:

We will be paying additional bonuses for the associates receiving the base bonuses who have billed 2200 hours, 2350 and 2500 hours. We will pay $7500 for each level attained.

Stub first years will take home five grand and like it:

Associates in the Class of 2008 will receive $5,000 without regard to hours.

And there is even more good news:

We have determined that, despite the difficult outlook for 2009, we will progress salaries for associates consistent with past practice.

All the layoff news must be unsettling for the people working at Dechert. This bonus announcement will probably help morale.

Read the full memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert Pays Market Rate, Plus $7,500 for Top Hours”

kirkland ellis logo.JPGKirkland & Ellis is perhaps the biggest bonus shoe left to drop. Will the firm follow Skadden as the firm’s prestige and profitability suggests? Or will Kirkland pull a Half-Skadden and settle down with the rest of the market?

We’ll know tomorrow. A firm-wide email just gave K&E New York associates a big reason to show up for work the day before Christmas Eve. John Desmarais is holding what we assume will be a very interesting meeting tomorrow:

Subject: Compensation NY Associates:

I’d like to have a brief meeting with you all tomorrow at 10 am on the 50th Floor (50G) to discuss salaries and bonuses for this year and next. At that time, also, I’ll say a few words about how the office and the firm are doing in the current economic climate.


This could be good news: why would K&E have a full meeting only to do what Cravath and the rest of the market has already done?

Of course, this could be terrible news: why would they need to “discuss salaries” when raises should be perfunctory,at a financially secure institution?

More on Kirkland’s meeting after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kirkland & Ellis Associates: Show Up To Work Tomorrow To Talk About Your Bonus”

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