Stephen Susman, of Houston’s Susman Godfrey (Tom Callins)
Susman Godfrey will pay bonuses ranging from $40,000 to $90,000 this month to associates who have been at the Houston-based litigation firm for at least a year.
Associates who started at the firm this fall will receive Christmas bonuses ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on when they started work, said Stephen Susman, a founder of the firm. Additionally, Susman said, one associate he declined to identify received an additional $50,000 bonus for business origination.
Susman said partners voted on the bonuses on Dec. 14, when they also promoted two associates—Lindsey Godfrey Eccles and Daniel Shih—to partner as of Jan. 1, 2014. Both work in the firm’s Seattle office, and Susman noted that Eccles is founder Lee Godfrey’s daughter. Susman’s son, Harry, is a partner in Houston.
“Now, we’ve got a Susman and a Godfrey as partner in the firm, second generation,” said Stephen Susman, who offices in Houston and New York City.
Here’s the associate bonus scale, according to Susman:
—Associates at the firm at least one year: $40,000
—Associates at the firm at least two years: $60,000
—Associates at the firm at least three years: $75,000
—Associates at the firm at least four years: $85,000
—Associates at the firm at least five years: $90,000
Susman said the firm doesn’t worry about what other firms pay in bonuses; the scale is based on the firm’s income each year.
“It’s not the biggest we’ve done …” he said. “What we traditionally do is we look at how well we do as a firm this year. We’ve done slightly better than last year.”
Over the years, Susman Godfrey has paid newsworthy bonuses. For instance, the firm shocked the Texas legal market in 2000 when it gave its associates bonuses equal to their base salaries—bonuses ranging from $114,000 to $165,000. In 2004, most Susman Godfrey associates received bonuses that ranged from 100 percent to 115 percent of their base salary.
In 2012, Susman Godfrey paid bonuses ranging from $35,000 to $85,000, for a total of $1.275 million and an average of $60,000 per associate.
The 100-lawyer firm will pay additional bonuses if any large multimillion dollar fees come in before year-end, Susman noted.
Susman said the firm partners were notifying the 39 associates on Dec. 16 about their bonuses.
The firm has offices in Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.