Legal Law

Affiliate Compensation Scorecard: Which Companies Are Sharing The Wealth By way of Particular Bonuses?

Spring is in the air, and bonus season is here once again. We don’t usually see many bonuses in March, but like 2020, 2021 is turning out to be an odd year.

Since we broke the news of the special bonus scale for associates and counsel at large law firms in the United States — a trend that was started by Willkie on Friday, March 19, 2021 (offering between $7,500 and $40,000), and quickly one-upped by Davis Polk on Monday, March 22, 2021 (offering between $12,000 and $64,000) — many firms quickly fell in line and matched the generous scale. When will your firm announce its special bonuses?

As usual, we are compiling a table of all the firms that have already matched the special bonus scale, the minimum hours required to receive those bonuses (if available), and the date those bonuses will be paid. Today, we unveil that table for your viewing pleasure. We will be updating this table on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times, as news on bonuses is announced. If you see any information here that is incorrect or needs clarification, let us know.

Help us help you now (and if/when you decide to make a lateral move in the future). Let us know what your firm’s minimum billable hours targets are for special bonus eligibility and when your firm will pay those bonuses. You generally must remain at your firm until the payout date to receive them, as stated in most memos, which could make it all the more difficult for you to leave your job.

As a little reminder, we love covering Biglaw bonuses, but we need your help. As soon as your firm’s bonus memo comes out, please email it to us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Bonus”). We always keep our sources on bonus stories anonymous. There’s no need to send the memo using your firm email account; your personal email account is fine. Please be sure to include the memo as proof; we like to post complete bonus memos as a service to our readers. You can take a photo of the memo and attach as a picture if you’re worried about metadata in a PDF/Word file.

Firm Date Matched Minimum Hours Payout Date
Willkie
Class of 2020: $7.5K $12K
Class of 2014+: $40K $64K
FIRST MOVER
March 19, 2021
None June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Davis Polk
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 22, 2021 None April 26, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Fenwick & West
Tier 1/Level 1: $12K
Tier 3/Counsel: $64K
March 23, 2021 1950 creditable hours, measured pro rata May 2021 / September 2021
Milbank
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 24, 2021 None (September bonuses “may take into account individual contributions” and “some individuals may receive a higher or lower amount than the specific level described above”; counsel bonuses “determined and communicated on an individual basis”) April 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Skadden
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 24, 2021 1800 “productive” hours, measured pro rata (those who don’t meet the eligibility requirement in June will receive “catch-up” payments in December if the hours threshold is met by then) June 2021 / December 2021
Cleary
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 24, 2021 None April 30, 2021 / August 30, 2021
Paul Weiss
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 24, 2021 None June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Debevoise
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 24, 2021 None June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Simpson Thacher
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 25, 2021 None (bonuses for counsel/senior counsel “determined at year-end on a case-by-case basis”) June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Paul Hastings
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 25, 2021 Eligibility details to come sometime in April 2021 May 28, 2021 / October 29, 2021
Goodwin
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 25, 2021 1850 annualized hours (1750 hours for special counsel ($64K total), senior attorneys ($44K total), and department and discovery attorneys/science advisors/science law clerks ($12K total)) July 1, 2021 / October 1, 2021
Proskauer
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 25, 2021 None May 14, 2021 / November 15, 2021
Hueston Hennigan
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 26, 2021 None June 2021 / September 2021

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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