Brad S. Karp

Last week, we joked about the glacial pace of the 2013 Biglaw bonus season. After all, Cravath made its announcement on December 9, and in that time, we’ve only heard from as many firms as days have passed since that time — seven.

Well, maybe things are finally heating up. Yesterday afternoon, two more firms sent out word of their associate bonuses by class.

We know Paul Weiss is looking hot, hot, hot these days, but were their bonuses just as sexy? And what about the bonuses at Bracewell & Giuliani, a firm that posted a double-digit increase in gross revenue?

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(Plus Bonus News From Bracewell & Giuliani)”

Go ahead and queue up the Luther Vandross, because we’ve reached the thrilling conclusion of our annual ATL March Madness.

Our newly expanded tournament pitted 32 teams in the hunt to be declared the law firm with the brightest future. After a string of close calls and upsets, it came down to second-seeded Paul, Weiss against fourth-seeded Gibson Dunn, the spunky underdog who’d knocked off the overall top seed Wachtell.

So who won?

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“Come on Judge Rakoff, it’s nap time over here!”

You don’t want to live in a town where the police and the mob work together.

In a completely unrelated note, today the Second Circuit heard arguments from the SEC — the federal agency statutorily charged to enforce the nation’s securities laws — and Citigroup — a company targeted for securities laws violations that it refuses to admit or deny committing — on the SAME SIDE.

This should be a red flag.

They wanted the Second Circuit to spank Judge Jed Rakoff for having the audacity to ask the SEC to kindly do its job. The nerve of some people.

Well, securities law may not be as sexy as drone strikes, but I watched the SEC try to pull off just as naked an executive power grab.

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When it comes to its associates, Paul Weiss has a few “crazy ones.” But when it comes to its associate bonuses, the firm is extremely rational.

Last night, around the time the Skadden bonuses came in, Paul Weiss also announced its 2012 bonus scale. Just as it did last year, the firm matched Cravath. PW will pay bonuses on December 21, the same date as Cravath and Skadden.

Was there ever any doubt that Paul Weiss would match?

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Bonuses have just been announced at Paul Weiss. The firm is matching what we’ll call the Cleary Gottlieb scale, which seems to be the most generous bonus schedule among the main-line law firms (i.e., excluding outliers like Boies Schiller and Wachtell Lipton).

The Cleary scale provides for (1) prorated bonuses for class of 2011 members and (2) a top payment of $42,500 for the most-senior lawyers (class of 2003 on up). We’re calling it the “Cleary scale” because some firms that pay a stub bonus to the class of 2011 top out at $37,500 (e.g., Milbank), and some firms that go all the way up to $42,500 don’t pay stub bonuses (e.g., Sullivan & Cromwell and Simpson Thacher).

(These are some pretty fine — and minor — distinctions. As Elie just grumpily remarked to me, “Remember when setting the market involved making it rain instead of figuring out if any pee got on the toilet seat?”)

In any event, it’s nice that Paul Weiss is taking care of its people at both the top and bottom of the seniority scale. Let’s look at the memo….

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Paul Weiss associates! Uncle Brad loves you. PW just matched the Cravath spring bonuses — memo after the jump.

So who are we still waiting to hear from?

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