Biglaw Bonus Bankroll: The Associate Compensation Scorecard (Fall 2019)


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Since we broke the news of the market bonus scale for associates at large law firms in the United States — a trend that was started by Milbank on Thursday, November 7, 2019, and finally followed by Cravath on Monday, November 11, 2019 — many firms have quickly fallen in line and matched the scale. It’s still quite early in bonus season, so we’ve yet to hear from firms offering statements on why they’ve failed to match the market, and dozens upon dozens of firms have remained completely silent thus far.

As usual, we are compiling a table of all the firms that have already matched the new bonus scale, the markets where those bonus matches were made, the minimum hours required to receive those bonuses (if available), and the date those bonuses will be paid. Today, we unveil that table for your viewing pleasure. We will be updating this table on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times, as news on bonuses is announced. If you see any information here that is incorrect or needs clarification, let us know.

Help us help you now (and if/when you decide to make a lateral move in the future). Let us know what your firm’s minimum billable hours targets are for bonus eligibility and when your firm will pay those bonuses. You generally must remain at your firm until the payout date to receive them, as stated in most memos, which could make it all the more difficult for you to leave your place of employment.

As a little reminder, we love covering the Biglaw bonus season, but we need your help. As soon as your firm’s bonus memo comes out, please email it to us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Bonus”). We always keep our sources on bonus stories anonymous. There’s no need to send the memo using your firm email account; your personal email account is fine. Please be sure to include the memo as proof; we like to post complete bonus memos as a service to our readers. You can take a photo of the memo and attach as a picture if you are worried about metadata in a PDF or Word file.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to sign up for ATL’s Bonus Alerts, please enter your email address in the box below. If you previously signed up for the bonus alerts, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll receive an email notification within minutes of each bonus announcement that we publish. Cheers to a happy bonus season, everyone!

FirmDate MatchedOffices MatchedMinimum HoursPayout Date
Milbank
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011: $100K
FIRST MOVER
November 7, 2019
All U.S. Offices
London, UK Office
Sao Paulo, Brazil Office
All Asia Offices
NoneOn or before December 31, 2019
Cravath
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012: $100K
November 11, 2019New York, NYNoneDecember 20, 2019
Paul Weiss
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 11, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneDecember 20, 2019
Holwell Shuster
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 12, 2019New York, NYNoneOn or before December 31, 2019
Fried Frank
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011+: $100K
November 12, 2019All U.S. Offices + London, UK2000 for market bonus (incl. 300 in pro bono and 125 qualified non-billable hours (e.g., recruiting, diversity, mentoring, training, client development, firm committees)); bonuses 15% or 30% above market at the 2200- and 2450-hour marksOn or before December 31, 2019
Clifford Chance
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011+: $100K
November 12, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneJanuary 15, 2020
Cleary Gottlieb
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011+: $100K
November 12, 2019All Associates/Int’l Lawyers on U.S. Salary ScaleNoneDecember 13, 2019
Debevoise
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 12, 2019All U.S. OfficesNone“Payable … at year end”
Cadwalader
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 13, 2019All U.S. Offices1900 hours for a market bonus; bonuses 120% of market at 2200-hour markLast full week of February 2020
Freshfields
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011+: $100K
November 13, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneDecember 13, 2019
Proskauer
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011: $100K
November 13, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneDecember 20, 2019
Davis Polk
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 13, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneDecember 13, 2019
Skadden
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 14, 2019All U.S. Offices1800 “productive hours”; additional $10K bonuses available for Class of 2013+ for “extraordinary performance”December 13, 2019
Ropes & Gray
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2017: $25K
Classes of 2016+: Determined individually
November 14, 2019All U.S. Offices1900 hours (including pro bono) for market bonusDecember 24, 2019
Shearman & Sterling
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2012+: $100K
November 14, 2019All U.S. Track AssociatesNoneJanuary 15, 2020
Baker McKenzie
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011+: $100K
November 14, 2019All U.S. OfficesNone; above-market bonuses for “exceptional performance”January 31, 2020
Simpson Thacher
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011: $100K
November 15, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneDecember 30, 2019
Weil Gotshal
Class of 2019: $15K (pro-rated)
Class of 2011: $100K
Class of 2010+: Case by case basis
November 15, 2019All U.S. OfficesNoneJanuary 31, 2020

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.




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