Cahill Tops Cravath Bonuses; Others Reward Top Billers

, The Am Law Daily

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Bonuses

Boies, Schiller & Flexner isn't the only New York firm awarding its associates higher bonuses than those given out by Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which, as usual, set the market standard earlier this month by announcing that its year-end payouts would range from $10,000 to $60,000.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel told its associates Friday that they are in line to receive special bonuses of between $10,000 and $25,000 above the so-called Cravath scale. Cahill was also the only firm to award summer bonuses this year, giving its associates extra checks of $10,000 apiece in June.

Taken together, senior Cahill associates who graduated from law school in 2005 could earn as much as $95,000 in extra pay this year, with junior associates from the class of 2012 receiving $30,000. Those in the class of 2010 are in line to earn a total of $45,000, and those from the class of 2007 will take home a combined $75,000.

“We had another strong performance this year in our practices across the board and will again pay a special bonus to our associates in appreciation for their outstanding effort and performance,” Cahill executive committee chairman William Hartnett said in a statement. “We recognize that Cahill associates are working extraordinarily hard to serve our clients."

Last year, Cahill also topped the market by giving its associates near-identical special bonuses.

As The Am Law Daily reported earlier this week, Boies Schiller topped the Cravath scale again this year, awarding its associates an average bonus of $85,000 and doling out as much $300,000 to a few high performers.

Several other firms announced that they, too, will exceed Cravath's extra payments, though only for the highest billers.

Kaye Scholer told its associates Thursday that those billing more than 2,200 hours this year will earn between $10,000 and $20,000 more than the standard bonus. High billers from the class of 2012, for instance, will receive $20,000 instead of the usual $10,000; members of the class of 2009 can earn $42,000 instead of $27,000; class of 2006 law school graduates will get $70,000 instead of $50,000.

"Every year there are some associates whose performance is truly outstanding, sacrificing from their personal lives to serve Kaye Scholer and our clients," Kaye Scholer managing partner Michael Solow said in a statement. "We therefore think it only appropriate that those associates deserve a little extra at bonus time, which is why we instituted the two-tier bonus system four years ago, and continued it this year."

Schulte Roth & Zabel is also singling out its top performers for special financial recognition, according to a firm bonus memo published on Above the Law. Associates billing at least 2,300 hours will earn $10,000 above market, and those billing a minimum of 2,500 hours will receive a $20,000 bump.

On average, midlevel associates at Am Law 200 firms billed 2,032 hours in 2012, according to the most recent American Lawyer Associate Survey.

A handful of other firms have fallen in line behind Cravath since our last update. Those include Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Debevoise & Plimpton, Linklaters, and Sullivan & Cromwell, according to reports on Above the Law.

Morrison & Foerster is also giving market-rate bonuses to its New York associates, with those in the firm's eight other U.S. offices scheduled to learn about the extra payments they will receive early next year. Without providing details, the firm said in a statement that they will also be awarding discretionary "high hours" bonuses. (As The Am Law has previously reported, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson's bonus memo also hinted at a possible bonus boost for "associates who have shown exceptional performance based on activity levels and quality of hours worked, client service, pro bono activities and firm contributions.")

More bonus news will be trickling out until the holidays, with firms based outside New York likely to hand out extra compensation to their associates in January and February.

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