Skaddenfreude

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been hearing a bit about the bonuses paid out by Latham & Watkins. It seems that LW associates are quite pleased.
Going back to our post from earlier today, it seems that one tipster’s speculation about a meeting to spin bad news was off the mark. A second LW source had this rebuttal:

Sometimes our offices have meetings to discuss bonuses. I am aware of one office that had a similar meeting last year, on the day in which bonuses were given. I think it’s more to go through the bonus memo and answer any questions, rather than to break any bad news.

And apparently there was no bad news to break. If this chart (posted at AutoAdmit) is correct, Latham associates did pretty well for themselves.
We haven’t received confirmation of the chart (yet — we’re working on it). And the chart also doesn’t reflect unspecified additional amounts paid out in New York. But LW sources did write in to say they’re pleased with their hauls:

“I think people are pretty happy with what they received.”

“Overall, bonuses are better than ever. They matched or more than matched in every market, for people who hit 1900 billable hours (a goal that is very clear — there was no doubt from the day I was hired that I needed 1900 to get a bonus). Bonuses in non-NY offices are far higher than they were last year (minimum – $35,000) and New York seems to have matched and/or exceeded the Cravath model. Overall, I am very happy!”

If you’re at Latham and can confirm the chart or provide us with more info, please drop us a line. Thanks.
Update: The accuracy of the chart has been confirmed for us by multiple sources at Latham.
Latham bonus memo for 2007 [AutoAdmit.com]
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Reading the Latham Tea Leaves

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday the D.C. office of WilmerHale made its bonus announcement. Here’s a summary from a source at the firm:

The bonus memo came out today. Yay! Salaries are the same. For the class of 2006, the hours guideline for bonuses is:

Hours Bonus
1,850 $15,000
2,000 $35,000
2,200 $40,000
2,400 $45,000

Management gave the caveat that bonuses were awarded for 1,850 hours only in some cases, basically for practices that were slow in which 2,000 hours could not be billed. The firm repeated that it expects lawyers to bill 2,000 hours per year (including pro bono).

If you have info on other classes, feel free to send it our way by email.
Update: A second source confirms the numbers above for first-year associates, and adds: “This was conveyed in personal letters stating our salary and bonus levels. New associates who started in the fall received prorated bonuses.”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAs we reported earlier this week, the Atlanta office of Paul Hastings has adopted a new pay scale, with a starting salary of $160,000.
The Fulton County Daily Report picks up the news today. It’s not new, since it was announced on Wednesday. But the article, by Meredith Hobbs, has a nice round-up of where things stand in the Atlanta market, post-Paul Hastings:

Like most of their competitors, Paul Hastings paid first-years $130,000 in 2007, the rate established by last spring’s round of pay raises. The firm had delayed unveiling its response to the increase to $145,000 triggered by Alston & Bird in August (with smaller raises up the classes) until now.

Paul Hastings’ new pay scale goes from $160,000 for first-years — the current market rate for first-years in more expensive cities such as Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York — to $215,000 for seventh-years.

By comparison, King & Spalding announced in October a 2008 scale starting at $145,000 for first-years and going to $195,000 for seventh-years. At that time, King & Spalding established a richer bonus system, which upped pay for first-years receiving bonuses to $152,500, and star seven-years to as high as $250,000.

Paul Hastings does not calculate bonuses until after the end of its fiscal year, so associate bonuses correlating to 2008 compensation will not be determined until the end of February 2009, said Philip J. Marzetti, the firm’s Atlanta managing partner.

More excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The Lay of the Land in Atlanta”


Venable LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgSome good news from a tipster over at Venable:

You can finally remove D.C.’s Weirdest Law Firm from your List of Shame. (Does the List even exist now, or is it being revamped for $190K?)

A memo was just issued announcing that first-year salaries at Venable will be raised to $160,000 effective July 2008. Sure, we’re a tad bit behind the times, but at least we finally came through. The firm also mistakenly upped first-years’ salaries for the pay period that ended this week, but in a move that shows their infinite generosity, they decided the first-years could keep this “bonus” money, with the next paychecks going back to the $145K level (until July 2008).

Memo after the jump.
Earlier: Venable: DC’s Weirdest Law Firm?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Venable to $160K”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgAs you may recall, back in November, Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced special bonuses, at market levels. In its memo, the firm explained that year-end bonuses would be announced at a later point:

As is customary, 2007 year-end bonuses will be paid at market to associates receiving an “Overall Strong” rating and will be above market for associates receiving a “Distinguished” rating in class years 2003 and above. Year-end bonuses will be paid on January 25, 2008.

That point has come. Weil just announced its year-end bonuses — and for top performers at more senior levels, i.e., “Distinguished” associates in the class of 2003 and above, the bonuses are above market.
For details, check out the memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Weil Raises the Ceiling”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgBack in November, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft issued a bonus memo that was devoid of numbers. Today, the CWT associates who survived the recent layoffs — which, to be fair, is most of them — learned how much they’d be getting.
But since there was no firm-wide memo, there’s still a lack of total transparency about how much people are getting. Associated were notified individually:

“CWT announced its bonuses today in individual letters to the remaining associates. Some people got full market bonuses and others got letters that merely told them what 2008 salaries are, with no mention of a bonus.”

If you can shed more light on the situation, feel free to post in the comments, or email us. Thanks.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgSorry it’s been a little slow around here for the past few hours. In the morning, we had some technical difficulties. For most of this afternoon, we’ve been offline, speaking at this D.C. bar panel.
Anyway, now we’re back. And we have a fair amount of bonus information to pass along.
The New York office of Winston & Strawn has announced year-end and special bonuses. Memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Winston & Strawn (New York)”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThe powers that be in the Atlanta office of Paul Hastings just announced associate pay raises for fiscal year 2008, which will take effect on February 1. Apparently ATL — the website, not the city — got a shout-out at the meeting, when the announcing partner asked, “Who is going to be the first one to email Above the Law?”
Here’s the memo and salary table:
We are pleased to announce the Firm will be increasing base-level salaries for U.S. associates in the Atlanta office effective as of the new fiscal year which commences February 1, 2008.
FY 2009 Compensation by Class Year is as follows:
Paul Hastings Atlanta associate salary table pay raise Above the Law blog.jpg
These increases reflect the Firm’s commitment to paying at the top tier of the market in Atlanta.
We thank you for and commend your performance, commitment and hard work throughout the year and your contributions to our success.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgA report on bonuses (such as they are) at K&L Gates in New York:

No notice — not even an email. Apparently, the “highly confidential” memo appearing on ATL last year less than 24 hours after its release wasn’t appreciated.

We were told that we would find out what the bonus was when it hit our bank accounts. The money hit our accounts this past Saturday, and it was a friggin’ joke. Since our handlers are doing their best to hamper communication, we’ve been forced to piece together an unofficial chart. Here’s the sad tale, by class year:

2007: Zero
2006: 0 — $15,000
2005: $20,000 — $30,000
2004: $30,000
2003: $35,000
2002: $35,000
2001: $35,000 — $40,000
2000: $40,000 — $50,000

The high end of each class’s range was obtained by one, maybe two associates.

And that’s in New York; we’d expect other offices to be lower. If you have info on them, feel free to email us.

New York skyline Manhattan skyline Above the Law blog.jpgIn last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you whether it was fair for associates in New York to get bigger bonuses than associates in other cities, even if they worked the same hours.
We appear to have struck a nerve.
Over two thousand of you responded. Among New Yorkers, 94% of associates thought that the higher bonuses were just fine. More than three fifths of respondents in other cities disagreed, with outrage and arguments spilling over into the comments.
But despite their differences in pay, both New Yorkers and the smattering of other associates who supported those differences came together to give the same reasons for why the higher bonuses are ok, although not in exactly the same order:

  • The higher cost of living in New York (94% of New Yorkers, 80% of others)
  • The higher hourly rates in New York (68% of New Yorkers, 50% of others)
  • The greater competition for hiring associates in New York (53% of New Yorkers, 28% of others)
  • “Because Boston sucks. So does Texas.” (24% of New Yorkers, 18% of Bostonians, 9% of others)
  • “Because New York sucks.” (21% of Bostonians, 9.46% of traitors New Yorkers, 17% of others)
  • Poor Boston. First their bagels, and now this?
    Earlier: Featured Job Survey: Bonuses in New York and Beyond

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