Two More Law Firms Jump on Cravath Bonus Bandwagon
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cravath, swaine & moore

Two more law firms have announced that they will be handing out $42,500 year-end bonuses to their eighth-year associates and above before 2011 comes to an end. According to Law360, the two new firms are Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. The two firms are matching the scale set forth by Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP.

Davis Polk and Paul Weiss will be matching the new scale that was established last week by the law firms of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. All of these firms announced last week that they would be handing out bonuses of $42,500 to their associates who were hired in 2003 or earlier.


The remainder of the pay scale falls in line with the scale set by Cravath, which announced its year-end bonuses last month. The firms will issue bonuses of $7,500 for first-year associates to $37,500 for seventh-year lawyers. Associates hired in 2004 represent the most-senior level associates at the firm of Cravath.

The law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP announced that it would match the scale set by Cravath but will not match the extended scale. The eight-year associates at Weil will receive bonuses of $37,500. Weil will pay its bonuses on December 23 and made the following statement in a memo sent to employees on December 8:

“On behalf of all Weil partners, we thank you for your hard work and dedication over the past year.”
The Cravath scale will be matched by the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP for just the first-year and second-year associates. The bonuses handed out to the firm’s most-senior level associates will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Ever since the bonus scale was released by Cravath last month, the list of law firms matching the scale has increased steadily.

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Last week, the law firm of Kaye Scholer LLP announced its bonuses, which will be given to those associates who work at least 1,950 hours per year. Associates who work at least 2,400 hours per year will be receiving a bonus of $57,500.

Shearman & Sterling LLP announced that bonuses will be handed out by the firm that will match the Cravath scale. This firm’s announcement occurred only one day after Proskauer Rose LLP announced its bonus plans for 2011.
The 2011 bonus scale announced by Cravath closely matches the bonuses issued by the firm to its employees in 2010. The only exception was that seventh-year associates in 2010 were given bonuses of $35,000. Cravath is the leader in handing out bonuses, as the firm issued spring bonuses in 2011, giving $20,000 to associates hired from 2004 to 2006, $15,000 to associates hired in 2007, and $2,500-$10,000 to associates hired later.


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