Boutiques Join in On Bonus Season
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Summary: A new trend of beating the bonus rates set by Cravath has started with another boutique announcing their higher rates.

Generally boutique law firms do not try to keep up with Big Law salary or bonus rates. However there are exceptions to this. Several boutiques announced matching salary rates when Cravath started the trend earlier this year. Now boutiques are jumping on the same bandwagon that Cravath started with bonuses with even some of them announcing better bonus rates than Cravath’s.


We already mentioned that Greenberg Gross was beating the Cravath scale by $5K. Other boutiques matching or exceeding the Cravath scale included Wilkinson Walsh & Eskovitz, Holwell Shulster & Goldberg, and Desmarais LLP.

The Desmarais scale is as follows:

Class of 2016 – $15,000 signing bonus plus $5,000

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Class of 2015 – $25,000

Class of 2014 – $35,000

Class of 2013 – $80,000

Class of 2012 – $85,000

Class of 2011 – $115,000

Class of 2010 – empty

Class of 2009 – $150,000

Class of 2008 – $185,000

The boutique already pays their attorneys $20,000 above the New York market, they pay the health care premiums, and pay $4,000 into each 401k. The firm must be doing very well to be able to provide such top quality perks on top of salaries. Some complain that they are “patent trolls” but they seem to still be getting plenty of business.

Desmarais has adopted a different business model than most firms. They do not bill by the hour. Instead they charge clients based on the stages of litigation reached and the results achieved. Clients have been happy with the model because it keeps them from paying lots of money for less than ideal outcomes.

Do you think some of the Big Law firms that already announced their smaller bonuses will be seen as inadequate compared to these new bigger bonuses from smaller firms? Tell us in the comments below.

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



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