But Weil Gotshal, which previously committed itself to “compensating Associates at market rates” and paying “2010 bonuses that are commensurate with bonuses paid by peer firms,” apparently believes that the “market rate” has been set — by Cravath.
Check out their latest memo, which also (1) confirms that Weil associates will get their customary seniority-based base salary increases in January (no surprise there), and (2) contains numbers for the “Distinguished” bonuses awarded to high-performing midlevel and senior associates….
Just like last year, we’re late in covering the bonus announcement of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which apparently happened a few days after the Cravath announcement. But just like last year, the Cadwalader bonus news is nothing to write home about.
We haven’t seen the memo — please feel free to send it our way — but multiple sources advise us that Cadwalader basically matched Cravath. We say “basically” because there was an hours requirement, which we understand was essentially the same as last year’s (i.e., around 2000 hours, 1900 of them billable).
If you have additional information or background about bonuses at CWT this year, we’re all ears.
It seems that Cahill Gordon isn’t the only firm putting the 2010 Cravath bonuses to shame. The elite litigation boutique of Susman Godfrey — founded in Texas, but now with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, as well as Houston and Dallas — is paying out associate bonuses as big as the Texas sky.
And, like good Texans, the folks at Susman Godfrey aren’t afraid to brag about their success. Unlike many other law firms, which play a ridiculous cat-and-mouse game with their bonus news, SG issued a press release about their bonuses. Such candor is refreshing — and shows that the firm has nothing to hide.
So how much are Susman Godfrey associates taking home this year in bonuses?
On Friday, the firm of Fried Frank announced associate bonuses. This year’s announcement was just like last year’s, i.e., something of a black box. The firm memo, reprinted below, states that FFHSJ will be paying “year-end bonuses to New York associates in varying amounts up to $40,000″ — but doesn’t say much more than that.
So nobody at Fried Frank really knows how much anyone else is getting. According to one source, though, “the news is that bonuses are generally in line with other firms and are being paid by year end.” In addition, “[r]umor is that bonus structure may not be lock-step and might (heaven forfend) be based in part on performance.”
The full memo appears after the jump. Fried Frank folk, feel free to compare your bonuses in the comments.
For the most part; there are some caveats and prerequisites. And there’s also some extra upside, for selected top performers.
You know you’re getting deeper into bonus season when the announcements start getting complicated. The early memos — generally straight Cravath matches, with very few qualifiers — are simple and straightforward.
So let’s look at the Dewey & LeBoeuf memo, shall we?
Late last night, Morrison & Foerster announced its bonus structure, kind of. The firm will be matching the Cravath bonus in New York, it hopes. And it will be matching the market in other markets, whatever that market turns out to be.
You can tell that a lawyer (as opposed to a PR professional) wrote the MoFo bonus memo. There are so many caveats and opt-outs in this baby you’d think the firm was acquiring something instead of just paying a bonus.
Let’s check this baby out. There’s one memo for the New York associates and a different one that was disseminated firm wide…
The memo is just coming in now, but the news is not shocking. Willkie Farr has decided to match the Cravath bonus scale, continuing the trend of everybody mindlessly doing whatever Cravath tells them to do.
The bonuses will be paid on December 17th, so Willkie associates will still have some time to put the bonus towards holiday shopping.
A small law-firm bonus, or a small-law-firm bonus?
While Biglaw types may or may not have had something to be thankful for over the holiday weekend, many small firm lawyers were feeling the Thanksgiving love via the SoloSez list serve.
There were numerous magnanimous emails coming through about what small firm lawyers are thankful for. I found myself wondering whether these warm-and-fuzzy feelings resulted from pure happiness — or whether they might reflect cold hard cash, in the form of small-firm bonuses.
So let’s gather some data about bonuses at small law firms….
The happiness emanating from the offices of Biglaw partners is palpable. Cravath paid a 2009 bonus despite a stronger 2010, and lowballing associates means more money for partners. Partners are giving anonymous quotes expressing their happiness. Skadden whipped off its Cravath-matching bonus memo so quickly it looked like a damn blog post. And, predictably, consultants are now scrambling to support the low bonus numbers.
It would seem that Biglaw has successfully colluded settled upon this year’s bonus schedule, and it is what it is.
But what if a firm already privately promised its associates a bonus scale that is better than last year? Would such a firm happily break its unwritten word just because Cravath set the bonus bar so low? Looks like we’re going to find out.
If you’ve been reading the comments on our bonus posts, you already know that Kirkland & Ellis associates expect to be paid more than the Cravath scale, because that’s what Kirkland has told them…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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