Year-End Bonuses Not So Happy for All
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Summary:  With the numerous announcements from law firms saying they are keeping the same bonus schedule as Cravath, there are a few law firms out there not giving bonuses at all.

The end of the year is the time to celebrate the end of your new year’s resolution, the holidays, and year-end bonuses. For some legal associates though, their year-end bonus is nothing to celebrate. Some law firms spilled all their guts to match the associate salary raise set by Cravath while other law firms are just a tad bit Grinch-y when it comes to bonus time.


One Jones Day associate complained, “As bonus season rolls around, associates at JD are getting even more frustrated. There have been rumors that JD will do an off-cycle raise in January to mitigate the market gap issue that y’all highlighted earlier this year, but no one from the administration has confirmed this, nor does anyone really believe it will bring us up to (or near) market.”

Another law firm where associates are feeling the burn is Morgan Lewis. The firm plans to cut bonuses for associates that make the 2,000 hour requirement by 25 to 75 percent depending on other factors to be determined by management.

Luckily there are still plenty of law firms that are being generous to their associates. Fried Frank has announced that they will keep their policy from 2015. That policy ensures that associates who reach the market value of 2,000 hours are entitled to the full bonus. Should an associate exceed that to 2,200 or 2,450 hours, then they can receive a 15 or 30 percent above market bonus.

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International firm Linklaters will be matching the NY market level for bonuses reinforced first by Cravath this year. Their U.S. associates that are in good standing with the firm can expect their bonuses on December 30. Their memo made a point to mention that the bonuses will be subject to pro-rations for those that have taken a leave of absence during the year or are part-time.

What do you think of the bonuses? Where you expecting more or less from the big law firms this year? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the year-end bonus announcements, read these articles:



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