Bonuses at Big Law Firms on the Rise Once Again
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Summary: As bonus season arrives in biglaw, many lawyers are seeing their bonus amounts return to levels seen in previous years. 

Lawyers at big law firms are once again receiving massive annual bonuses if they have worked long hours on litigation papers, corporate deal documents and complex contracts, according to The New York Times.


Large law firms in New York are handing out bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $100,000 for associates and it is all based on their tenure.

Bonuses ranging from $125,000 to $150,000 will be handed out to the most senior associates at Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Just last year, the average associate at the firm was awarded $85,000 in bonuses.

To read more about law firm bonuses, click here.

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Bonus season kicked off prior to Thanksgiving, when Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton announced their bonuses for this year.

The firms said that some of their associates would be issued $100,000 bonuses. Weil Gotshal & Manges; Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy; and Shearman & Sterling announced their bonuses not long after the first group.

Associates at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Davis Polk & Wardwell will receive $110,000 bonuses this year.

Charles A. Volkert is the executive director for Robert Half Legal, a consulting firm, who said, “What we are continuing to see is law firms are looking for talent who can handle files on their own and bring high value to corporate clients. The largest increases are for lawyers with 10 or plus years’ experience.”

As of right now, it looks as if Boies Schiller is the law firm to beat when it comes to handing out end-of-year bonuses. Two of the firm’s associates will receive $350,000 bonuses. The founder of the firm, David Boies, said that these two associates are being awarded such high bonuses due to the hours they worked on drawn-out litigation and the size of recoveries won for a client.

To read more about Boies Schiller, click here.

Boies and Jonathan D. Schiller founded the firm back in 1997. The firm is representing Maurice R. Greenberg, the former AIG chief executive, who is fighting the terms of the government’s 2008 bailout of the company.

Boies said that the bonus structure at his firm is higher this year compared to last because the lawyers have been working longer hours. He said he hopes next year’s bonuses are lower because it would mean his lawyers are working less hours.

To read more about AIG, click here.

“I hope the bonuses get back to where they were in 2013,” he said, “because I think that reflected a more sustainable lifestyle.”

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