Apologies for the delay. The bonus announcement of Sullivan & Cromwell was made by firm chairman H. Rodgin Cohen at 5:10 p.m. today, but it took us a few hours to get our hands on the memo.
For associates in the class of 2007 through the class of 2004, S&C is paying the standard year-end and special bonuses. But for more senior associates, it’s paying lump-sum bonuses — none of this “special” business — of $80,000 (2003), $95,000 (2002), and $110,000 (2001 and above).
These amounts reflect the new S&C senior associate bonuses — in part. More cash will be forthcoming in 2008. From Rodge Cohen’s memo:
As announced earlier this year, the Firm will pay senior associates compensation in addition to salary and bonus through our new Senior Associate Supplemental Bonus Plan (“the Plan”). We have decided to accelerate payments under this new Plan to result in the following amounts being paid on December 14 to our senior associates, with final supplemental payments to be made in the Spring of ’08.
One of our favorite firms here at ATL, Quinn Emanuel, has announced bonuses. And in true QE fashion, they’re doing things a little differently (which is why we like them so much — they keep things interesting).
Their year-end bonuses are standard, but their “special” bonuses are, well, special. In some ways, the Quinn scheme is better: mo’ money. In some ways, it’s worse: half of the special bonus paid this month, half in June 2008.
For details, check out the memo, after the jump.
P.S. We’d like to do a little write-up of the QE Deer Valley recruiting trip. Can any of you help us? Please submit any info by email. Thanks.
* Are you in DC and looking for something cool to do later tonight? Attend the talk and book signing for Professor Daniel Solove’s latest work, The Future of Reputation (previously discussed here). [Concurring Opinions]
* Are lawyers really a**holes? Or are they just doing their jobs? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Some thoughts on possibly increased bank regulation, from our colleague, John Carney: “Resistance to a new wave of banking regulation requiring bank breakups and dividing Wall Street according to regulatory fiats rather than market demand is likely to be weak in an era when many think the financial supermarket model has failed…. No one expends much time, money or energy defending a right to do something they don’t want to do anyway.” [DealBreaker]
* Don’t forget to vote for ATL! Even if you did so before, you can do so again — once every 24 hours, ending November 8th. [2007 Weblog Awards]
The firm of McKee Nelson — which has been having some issues, thanks to the credit crunch, but is making valiant efforts to deal with them — just announced its standard bonus scale. It is availing itself of the fig leaf provided by Cravath’s bifurcated bonus scheme: it’s not paying “special” bonuses, just regular year-end bonuses.
As explained in the memo:
[A]n individual associate’s bonus will be determined by the quality of such associate’s work, his or her overall contribution to the Firm, and the number of billable hours worked. [B]ased on these factors certain associates will receive more than, and others less than, the standard scale for their class.
I enjoy my work as an employment lawyer for the simple fact that each case is different and “you can’t make this stuff up.”
An article in today’s The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, proves that theory correct. [It's] about a female town of Stamford employee who was disciplined for allegedly harassing a male supervisor, [and] contains the sorts of details that you really can’t make up.
According to the article, the alleged harassment by the female employee included sending an e-mail with lyrics from a Barenaked Ladies song.
Considering the weirdness of this incident, of course it happened in a law office. The victim of the purported harassment was Stamford’s Director of Legal Affairs.
The lyric that got the employee in trouble — “I knew you before the fall of Rome,” from the song “It’s All Been Done” — is surprising. But this case, involving a female employee allegedly harassing her male supervisor, is not your run-of-the-mill harassment incident.
It would be much more probable for a male supervisor to harass a female subordinate — with a song lyric like, for example, “Hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me” (Dave Matthews Band, “Crash”). Report: Female Employee Uses “Barenaked Ladies” to Harass Male Supervisor [Connecticut Employment Law Blog] City disciplines female employee for harassing male supervisor [Stamford Advocate]
Federal judicial clerkships are coveted positions — and for good reason. They burnish your resume, enhance your connections, and give you a view of litigation from the other side of the bench.
So we’d like to bring you news of a very special clerkship position. Please keep in mind, however, that it’s not for everyone. The ideal candidate will have no student loans and no kids to support. A trust fund and/or a well-to-do family are helpful.
An ATL tipster was recently offered this clerkship position:
Although Judge [redacted] has hired a clerk for his 2008-09 funded position, he still has an opening for his unfunded position. The unfunded position carries all of the responsibilities, prestige, and future opportunities of the funded position; the only difference is the salary.
Please let me know if you are interested in being considered for this position or if you would like more information about this position.
Thank you, [redacted] United States District Court, [redacted] District of Texas
Pretty insane, right? We expect many offerees tell the judge to take his clerkship and shove it.
But on the other hand, if you can afford to live without a salary for a year, it might not be a bad gig. You can get all the prestige and experience of a clerkship with a federal judge — then make it up on the back end, by going to a law firm that pays a $50,000 clerkship bonus (roughly equal to or even more than what you would have earned in a year of clerking anyway, assuming you go straight into the clerkship from law school).
While you wait for more announcements to trickle in, check out the latest news article about associate bonus season. It’s by Joseph Goldstein of the New York Sun, who writes (after describing the Cravath special bonus announcement and subsequent matching):
The announcement suggests that the darkening economic landscape isn’t causing too much concern that there will be a significant decrease in billable hours. And legal recruiters say the bonuses, which exceed last year’s, are a signal that the next pay increase for associates could come as soon as January, the month when law firms generally announce any raise in base associate salaries. The gloomier interpretation — that these early and generous bonuses are meant to ward off a salary war next year — has few adherents.
“That’s just speculation,” a recruiter, Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, said. “My instinct would be the opposite. This is an indication that firms would be interested in taking base compensation to the next level as well.”
Interesting. It is worth noting that Simpson’s raise from $145,000 to $160,000, and S&C’s raise from $125,000 to $145,000 before that, were announced in January 2007 and January 2006, respectively.
[T]he $160,000 figure, still less than a year old, may not last for much longer. It has already spread to other cities across the country, causing discontent among associates here who contend with New York’s higher cost of living.
That parity between associate pay here and elsewhere “can’t last long” a professor at Columbia Law School, John Coffee, said. ” It’s natural that New York will distance itself from the national salary scale. There will be some jockeying among the firms to see who can lead the race.”
Based on your recent comments, it’s clear that many of you want to talk about New York bar exam results, which should be announced later this month. Many of you are wondering whether the scandal we dubbed “Laptopgate,” concerning problems with the software used by candidates who took the test on their computers, might delay the announcement of the results.
There’s nothing up about the subject over at the website of the New York State Board of Law Examiners. But in recent years, the results were released in mid-November. Archived press releases show that results for the last two July exams were announced on or about November 15, 2006, and November 18, 2005. So they’re not late yet, based on past practice.
But there are reasons for concern. From a reader::
I was one of those who had an answer overwritten during the July 2007 NY Bar examination. I received an email from NYBoLE in the end of August stating “this will confirm that we are in receipt of all of your printed (and/or handwritten) answers to essay questions 1 through 5 and the MPT.” [But then] I received another email from NYBoLE stating that they need me to upload my exam again to “verify that we have your complete essays” and that I “may have inadvertently received an email from us confirming that we are in receipt of your essays.”
Heard of this happening to anyone else?
Why yes, we have. In fact, we received several emails from ATL readers who sat for the New York bar exam in July 2007, describing similar situations.
A little more, after the jump.
We realize we’re late to the party on this one. The WSJ Law Blog wrote about it last week. We linked to it today in Morning Docket, but based on the email we’ve received about it, clearly many of you have more to say about it.
News flash: Wal-Mart is cheap. From the WSJ Law Blog:
Before any more law firms match the latest bump in associate compensation, they may want to take stock of this memo issued yesterday by Wal-Mart. [T]he memo raises concerns about the recent increase in associate starting pay to $160,000.
“The salaries that law firms choose to pay their junior associates are none of our concern,” writes Miguel Rivera Sr., associate general counsel for the retail chain.
Oof! But Rivera continues, “Based on the size and frequency of the rate increase requests that we have seen over the past three years, it appears that many of the requested increases are largely attributable to the steady, nationwide increases in junior associate salaries.”…
“We are today announcing a moratorium on across-the-board rate increases. Until further notice, we will only consider reasonable, individual requests for rate increases for those attorneys in your firm who are performing at an exceptional level and whose experience and knowledge is adding substantial value towards meeting Wal-Mart’s legal objectives.”
Update: Due to your requests, we’ve placed the rest of this post — which includes a rather disgusting picture of diseased feet, so consider yourself warned — after the jump.
Friday was a busy day for associate bonus announcements. We reported bonus news from Cleary, Willkie, Cahill, and Dewey & LeBoeuf.
But we didn’t get everyone. Apparently Shearman & Sterling also announced on Friday afternoon. (But we didn’t get the memo until the weekend — please, people, we know you can do better.)
Memo after the jump.
* Lawyers arrested in Pakistani protests, as government suspends constitution and declares martial law. [New York Times; CNN]
* Tonight’s talk shows to be awkward, slightly less funny, as execs hold out on e-profits. [CNN]
* Actor sentenced to 40 months in a hopefully high-security prison. [MSNBC]
* Wal-Mart lawyers to below market! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wireless company gets litigious. [Engadget]
Thanks to everyone who answered our plea and nominated Above the Law as “Best Law Blog,” in the 2007 Weblog Awards. We’re pleased to announce that ATL is one of the finalists.
Now we need your help once again. We’re getting our a** kicked by the Volokh Conspiracy, which is currently leading the voting for Best Law Blog, with 49.5 percent of the vote (compared to ATL’s measly 9 percent). If you’d like the associate compensation and bonus coverage to keep coming, please click here, and vote for ATL.
You can vote in the poll once every 24 hours, and the polls will remain open until November 8. So please vote for ATL, early and often. Thanks!
P.S. Is our campaigning undignified? Maybe. But ATL has never been about dignity (except for the stripping of it). And if distinguished law professors like Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh are campaigning, then surely it’s appropriate for us to do so. Best Law Blog [The 2007 Weblog Awards] 2007 Weblog Awards [Volokh Conspiracy] Earlier: What’s Your Favorite Law Blog?
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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