While first-year associates had earned an average $7,500 in year-end bonuses last year, this year the amount would be $10,000. So, it’s not as gloomy as some think.
For the most senior associates, the jump in year-end bonuses is about a staggering 60%. While last year, senior associates earned about $37,500 in year-end bonuses, this year, the sum would be $60,000 with a rise of $22,500 against 2011.
While, it has become a tradition for many firms to follow what Cravath awards in bonuses and match their offerings accordingly, this year things may be different, as many law firms had offered their associates spring bonuses, while Cravath did not.
However, the bonuses still continue to be much below pre-recession times. In 2007, first-year associates at Cravath had received $45,000 and senior associates had received $110,000 in regular and special bonuses. Things are improving from the bottom reached in 2009. Cravath is continuing to follow the growing trend of increasing bonuses for senior associates who continue with the firm at a rate higher than increases allowed to first-year associates.
The news is good for new law graduates too, because the most sure indicator of the willingness of law firms to induct new recruits is in the bonuses they are ready to pay to first-year associates.
The news was first reported by New York Times, which obtained an internal memo of Cravath.