Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Top Silicon Valley firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian has scrapped its fixed bonus scheme for associates in response to the rapidly slowing US technology market.The scrapping of the guaranteed £20,000 (£14,220) bonus is being seen as a further sign of the severity of the downturn which is currently effecting Silicon Valley law firms – which last year kicked off a Trans-Atlantic pay war.It was Gundersons which lit the touch-paper on last year’s escalating pay war, which soon spread to London, by setting a new US first year standard of $125,000 (£88,900).The firm is understood to have also implemented a three stage take on of new associates that will spread the arrival of trainees over the course of the year rather than all coming at once.Though the guaranteed bonus has been scrapped, the firm will still pay a merit-based bonus that will reflect individual performance.Gundersons’ new measures are expected to stop the firm from having to lay off staff, although US-based associate on-line bulletin boards are predicting staff job losses. The move by Gundersons comes as a growing number of technology-focused law firms are struggling to cope with the sharp drop in the US venture capital market.In April another West Coast firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe froze its base pay for first year associates rather than following the move of rival firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison to raise base pay to $135,000 (£92,500).This raise did not stop Brobecks later laying off 16 staff members from its Concorde Technology Centre base in California in the same month.The Brobecks cuts came only weeks after New York firm Dewey Ballantine took the unusual step of publicly announcing that it was to lay off 12 associates due to over-manning.

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.
Subscribe today and get 10% off.


  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651


Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 American Lawyer Media International, LLC. All Rights Reserved.