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They don’t call the Web site Greedy Associates for nothing. The popular bulletin board has been abuzz with talk of junior associates earning record bonuses this year. And an informal survey by Legal Times shows that top first- and second-year associates at Washington, D.C.’s large firms will indeed awake Christmas morning with some lovely checks under their tree. So what are the best (or greediest?) young associates being given this holiday season? At Hogan & Hartson, bonuses range from $6,000 to $35,000 for junior D.C. associates. Managing partner J. Warren Gorrell Jr. reports that this year’s bonus pool for associates is nearly double last year’s and that a “substantial majority” of the firm’s young lawyers will be getting an end-of-the-year check. Christopher Foley, managing partner of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, reports that the firm freshmen who billed 2,400 hours and met other performance goals received a cool $34,500, while second-years meeting the same criteria netted 30 percent of their annual salary: $40,500. Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky says that junior lawyers were eligible for an “hours-based” bonus beginning at 2,100 hours, with the heftiest windfall awarded for 2,400 or more hours. The firm’s largest check written to a first- or second-year: $30,000. Associates at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman were eligible for bonuses up to $35,000. Yet the firm reports that the biggest check written to a second-year was $25,000, while the largest to a first-year was $20,000. Covington & Burling reports that junior associates were eligible for bonuses of up to $35,000, although a spokeswoman could not say whether anyone got top dollar. The top bonus for a junior associate at Wiley Rein & Fielding was $22,500; at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, $15,000. As of Dec. 17, several behemoths said they had yet to determine associate bonuses. Among them: the D.C. offices of Piper Rudnick and Latham & Watkins, where firm leaders say they won’t make bonus decisions until late December or January. That, says recruiter Charles Garrison of Garrison & Sisson, may be because many firms are still pushing to collect from clients before the new year and are still assessing profits. But delaying also allows firms to survey the market and see what their competitors are paying. “The same game is played every year,” he says. “Who blinks first?” Of course, for many big firms, the subject of associate bonuses is a sensitive one. Among those who refused requests for bonus information or did not return phone calls: Arnold & Porter; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; and McDermott, Will & Emery.Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld said it had not yet determined its 2004 bonuses.

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