Money

As they say in the Pokémon movie, you gotta catch ‘em all.

That’s how we approach bonus news here at Above the Law. Today is shaping up as a day that will be full of bonus news. We’ve heard some rumblings about some big, Cravath topping bonuses at a well known shop, but for now, we’ve got a standard Cravath match.

Shearman & Sterling, come on down. You’re on “The Price Is Meh”…

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Let’s keep the bonus news rolling. On Friday, our sources reported that Proskauer Rose matched the Cravath 2011 bonus scale. We now have the official firm memo.

Apparently this news is likely to anger many Proskauer associates. Given that fact, I’m not exactly sure why the firm was eager to be one of the early adopters of Cravath’s bonus scale….

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John B. Quinn, founding partner of Quinn Emanuel, is one of our favorites here at Above the Law. We like people who have personality.

We also like people who are so rich they just don’t give a f**k. Quinn seems to have gotten to the point where he can legitimately start a Twitter account called “rich people problems.”

We have evidence of his tribulations from the the San Francisco reception desk of Quinn Emanuel….

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Prior to discussing my topic this week, I’d like a moment with Mr. Big Shot what’s-his-name “Lat,” and that idiot Mystic, or whatever her name is, about my arrangement here. I would appreciate if consideration could be given to not posting my important prose on the same day that news breaks about the amount of end-of-year welfare money given to a bunch of crybaby, self-entitled, snot nosed, sit-in-your-office and overbill clients you’ve never met for work you’ve done six times on another “matter,” I hate my life Biglaw drones who couldn’t make a coherent legal argument to a meter maid.

Thank you.

Now on to more important matters….

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Perhaps you’ve already heard that Cravath announced its 2011 bonus scale on Monday (swiftly followed by Skadden and Milbank) and apparently it’s 2009 all over again. Around here, while Lat shrugged and Elie heaped scorn (“dick move”), the ATL commentariat … well, they were cut to the heart and gnashed their teeth (“ALLCAPS OUTRAGE MEME”).

We can’t help but wonder if this bonus season’s dyspepsia is typical of lawyers and law students generally. What with the growing ranks of JDs who are despairing of ever paying off their debt, shouldn’t there be some significant cohort thinking, “phew…not only do I have a job, but now my firm will be forced to match”?

Well it turns out that’s certainly not the case…

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Last night, Milbank Tweed matched the Cravath bonus scale for 2011. The news, first reported by Am Law Daily, came on the heels of yesterday’s Skadden match.

But wait — did Milbank perhaps beat the Cravath and Skadden bonus scales? Let’s look at the details of the Milbank bonus announcement….

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No surprises here: Skadden has matched the 2011 Cravath bonus scale. Given the sheer size of Skadden, in terms of attorney headcount, this announcement directly affects the pocketbooks of more lawyers than the Cravath news (although the indirect effects of Cravath as market leader are, of course, huge).

So we won’t have a repeat of 2008, when Skadden paid twice as much as Cravath (aka Half-Skadden). Firms are essentially recycling last year’s bonus schedules. Hence our snazzy “recycling money” image, which will be the logo for Associate Bonus Watch 2011.

Let’s look at the memo, along with reactions from SASMF associates….

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* Facebook settled with the FTC over its privacy violations. Mark Zuckerberg will be adding a “dislike” button to the site so he has an appropriate way to deal with this. [National Law Journal]

* The lawsuit seeking to overturn gay marriage in New York will proceed. Eric Schneiderman just got disinvited from more holiday parties than he can even count. [New York Times]

* On appeal, Dechert will get to walk away from the Dreier drama without losing a single dime, but not if Marc Kasowitz has anything to do with it. [New York Law Journal]

* Herman Cain’s defamation lawyer, Lin Wood, is apparently living on a very nice planet where “guilt by accusation” isn’t already the norm in the realm of politics. [Washington Post]

* What’s with all of the child predator attorneys flocking to New Jersey? Solo practitioner Tobin Nilsen got 12 years for trying to have sex with a 7-year-old girl. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

It took a little longer than most of you expected, but Cravath, Swaine & Moore just announced its 2011 associate bonuses (not long after announcing its new partners). Barring something very unforeseen, these bonuses are what many Biglaw firms, in New York and across the land, will pay out this year to their people. Historically Cravath has set the market with respect to year-end associate bonuses at major law firms.

The Cravath bonuses are what you might expect. They are in line with recent years, nothing crazy high or ridiculously low. Both Occupy Wall Street types and law firm associates can put away the pitchforks.

Let’s take a look at the official memorandum, and engage in some analysis….

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* The American Bar Association can’t handle law schools, yet Obama trusts them to vet potential judicial nominees. Well, seems like they’re doing a bang-up job with that, too. [New York Times]

* First the New Jersey bar exam results, and now more MF Global drama. Angry investors want to know if a lawsuit will help Jon Corzine remember where he put the missing $600M. [Bloomberg]

* Law school debt increased by $475M between 2008 and 2010. Grab a raincoat, because this bubble’s going to burst soon, and it’s not going to be pretty (except for Cooley Law; they’ll be rich). [Am Law Daily]

* And on that note, what on earth was Cornell Law thinking? Did they fail to realize that their Cooley rankings would plummet if they decimated their library square footage? [Cornell Daily Sun]

* UC Berkeley: “We never like to hurt our students.” Yeah, apparently that’s what the police are for. Occupy Berkeley protesters are suing the school over police brutality allegations. [Huffington Post]

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