Dechert announced shortly after Christmas that it was issuing end of year bonuses for 2011. The firm is paying a pro-rated bonus to first-year associates and a top payment of $42,500 to senior associates. Basically, this scale is almost a match to the Cleary Gottlieb scale.
The full memo from Dechert can be found below:
DECHERT — MEMORANDUM — 2011 YEAR-END BONUSES
We are pleased to announce our U.S. associate bonuses for 2011. Bonuses will be paid on January 6 to all U.S. associates who were reasonably productive during 2011 and who were performing and progressing in accordance with the firm’s expectations, based on the following scale:
Class of 2010: $7,500
Class of 2009: $10,000
Class of 2008: $15,000
Class of 2007: $20,000
Class of 2006: $25,000
Class of 2005: $30,000
Class of 2004: $37,500
Class of 2003 and more senior: $42,500
In applying a “reasonably productive” standard, we emphasize again that we do not want our associates working to a specific number of hours. Accordingly, we did not award bonuses based on a sharp cut-off of a particular number of hours. We also are aware that hours are not the only way to measure intensity of effort, quality of performance, and level of responsibility. Having said this, an associate who is reasonably productive would normally be performing legal work for clients, both billable and pro bono, in the range of 1,950 annualized hours. This year we looked at hours from December 1, 2010 through November 30, 2011. We expect to use this twelve- month time frame going forward. As a transitional matter, to the extent any associate is materially disadvantaged by the use of this time frame this year, instead of the calendar year we have used in the past, we will do a true-up in January after looking at calendar year hours.
In addition, we expect all of our attorneys to contribute meaningfully to the firm on important projects such as marketing initiatives, recruiting, writing articles, and training. Thus, in determining bonuses, we spent a considerable amount of time reviewing not only how much time each associate recorded, but also how each spent his or her time, taking into consideration such factors as the balance among billable, pro bono and firm-related hours, firm citizenship, and whether the associate complied with the firm’s policies and procedures, including timely recording of time and the firm’s pro bono requirements.
In determining whether and to what extent the associate was “performing and progressing in accordance with the firm’s expectations,” we considered not only individual and overall ratings, but also how senior the associate is relative to his or her level.
As a result of this merit-driven review, we awarded full class bonuses to almost every associate who was reasonably productive, including many who had well below 1,950 billable and pro bono hours. Moreover, we are paying bonuses substantially above the grid to a significant number of associates. Finally, as we have the last several years, we have expanded the bonus pool to provide partial bonuses to many associates who fell short of the reasonably productive standard, but whose overall contributions merited some recognition.
As in the past, we pro-rated bonuses for associates who did not work a full year or did not work full-time and we made deductions for repeated late time entries.
We are immensely proud of our associates and are happy to show them our appreciation for their hard work and high performance with our bonus program. Associates who are receiving bonuses will be informed of the amount by the end of this week. Questions should be directed to practice group leaders, [redacted].