Sullivan & Cromwell and Weil, Gotshal & Manges joined the stampede Thursday to announce associate year-end bonuses.
According to our reporting, Sullivan’s scale is identical to the one set November 26 by Cravath, Swaine & Moore, traditionally among the first firms to announce. S&C will be giving out the bonus a few days before Christmas, as in past years. (The bonus comes on top of supplemental spring bonuses the firm issued earlier this year ranging from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on seniority, our reporting confirmed.)
Weil’s plan, as reported on legal blog Above The Law and confirmed by The Am Law Daily, is also identical, although the firm memo that was emailed to associates does not mention a bonus for its newest “stub year” associates. The firm confirmed that it will be paying prorated bonuses to those associates as well, as it has in the past.
The firms follow seven other top New York–based rivals that have issued their own bonus announcements this past week and four who announced theirs last week. All but one—Boies Schiller & Flexner—have matched Cravath. Boies Schiller’s scale, however, is far richer and is based on performance rather than seniority.
In memos emailed to associates and almost instantly leaked to the press, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton announced November 29 that it would award bonuses virtually identical to the new Cravath scale—information confirmed by The Am Law Daily. The following day, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Debevoise & Plimpton both made similar announcements, according to memos first published on Above The Law. (Cadwalader confirmed the announcement with The Am Law Daily on Thursday.)
The trend continued this week, with Milbank announcing its bonuses on Monday, according to Above the Law, and Shearman & Sterling confirming to The Am Law Daily on Tuesday that it, too, would mirror the Cravath scale.
Milbank, Cadwalader, and Weil will be sending the checks in early 2013. The rest were told that they will be receiving their checks this month.
The Cravath bonuses, by way of reminder, are set as follows:
Class of 2012 — $10,000 (prorated)
Class of 2011 — $10,000
Class of 2010 — $14,000
Class of 2009 — $20,000
Class of 2008 — $27,000
Class of 2007 — $34,000
Class of 2006 — $40,000
Class of 2005 — $50,000
Class of 2004 — $60,000
Meanwhile, Boies Schiller has once again blown the competition out of the water, as it has done for several years. The firm confirmed Thursday that it was awarding its first-year associates bonuses of between $25,000 and $125,000; second-years, between $35,000 and $150,000; and more senior associates, between $50,000 and $250,000. (News of Boies Schiller’s bonuses was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog).
The $250,000 figure is breathtaking on its own and an increase from the maximum bonus of $200,000 paid out last year.The bonuses were announced and paid on Thursday, the firm confirmed; unlike those of most Wall Street firms, the bonuses are set based on productivity, hours worked, billing rates, and other factors. The exception is the newest class; associates who have been at the firm for just a few months are each slated to receive $5,000 each.
The bonuses come on top of base salaries that are above the New York market as well, starting at $174,000; that means that some in the class of 2011 at the highest end of bonus scale could potentially see roughly $300,000 in compensation.