Four Firms Announce End of Year Bonuses for Associates
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Four more law firms have announced that they will hand out year-end bonuses of $42,500 for eighth-year associates and above, according to Law360. These four firms will be extending the bonus scale that was first established by the law firm of Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and has since been matched by a couple of other firms in the United States. The four firms that announced the year-end bonuses include Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. These four firms will issue bonuses to their associates from the class of 2003 and earlier, which was reported by the legal blog of Above the Law.

The remainder of the pay scales for year-end bonuses to be handed out by the firms of Debevoise, Gottlieb, Cleary and Sullivan match the year-end bonus scale of Cravath. First-year associates will be receiving $7,500 while seventh-year associates will be receiving $37,500.


Also entering the fray is Kay Scholer LLP, announcing it will hand out year-end bonuses that match the Cravath bonus scale for its associates who work at least 1,950 hours in a year. Any associates at Kaye Scholer LLP that work at least 2,400 hours in a year will receive a bonus that tops out at $57,500.

Ever since the bonus scale of Cravath became public information last month, the list of firms matching that scale has grown steadily over the past month.

Another firm that announced it would hand out bonuses based on the Cravath scale is that of Shearman & Sterling LLP. Their announcement was made one day after that of Proskauer Rose LLP announced they would also match the bonuses of Cravath. The announcement from Proskauer Rose LLP followed announcements from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP earlier this month.

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The bonus scale released by Cravath for 2011 closely matched its scale used in 2010, which were the same for each associate group except for those in their seventh year with the firm. Associates working with the firm in their seventh year in 2010 received a bonus of $35,000. There were spring bonuses of $20,000 handed out by Cravath in 2011 for associates who were hired from 2004 to 2006. Associates from 2007 were issued bonuses of $15,000 and anyone who started later than that were given bonuses ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.

Cravath has been the leader in the bonus category over the past couple of years, as other firms have followed their lead. For example, when Cravath announced in January that it would be issuing spring bonuses, multiple other firms decided to do the same thing. Industry experts expect that a couple more law firms will announce end of year bonuses for their associates prior to the end of December.


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