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Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy Match Cravath’s Bonus Structure
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Summary: Two magic circle law firms have announced this year’s bonus structures, and they are the same as the scale set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. 

Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have announced this year’s bonuses, and Law.com reports that they are the first magic circle law firms to reveal this in the United States. The two firms have also matched the rates of Cravath Swaine & Moore, an American industry leader in pay structure.

  
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On Monday, Cravath announced its associate year-end bonuses, and the scale was the same as 2015 and 2016. Hours later, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP followed suit. The range of amounts started at $15,000 for first-year associates and went up to $100,000 for more seasoned associates. (See below.)

Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy’s bonus structure

  • Class of 2017 — $15,000 (pro-rated)
  • Class of 2016 — $15,000
  • Class of 2015 — $25,000
  • Class of 2014 — $50,000
  • Class of 2013 — $65,000
  • Class of 2012 — $80,000
  • Class of 2011 — $90,000
  • Class of 2010 — $100,000
  • Class of 2009 and senior — $100,000

Cravath was the first firm to announce its bonuses this year, and more firms are likely to make their statements in the next few days.

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Last year, Cravath was also the industry leader in setting the scale for bonuses. Most Big Law firms matched the New York-based law firm, but some gave less and some gave more.

For example, Milbank and Paul Weiss matched Cravath’s scale in 2016 while Kirkland & Ellis reportedly gave more than Cravath by almost 20 percent. Houston-based Susman Godfrey doubled what Cravath was giving, offering a minimum year-end bonus of $40,000 to its first-year associates. Conversely, Morgan Lewis reportedly cut bonus amounts that year.



In addition to being a trendsetter in bonus amounts, Cravath also changed the industry standard of pay for associates. In 2016, the firm announced that it was raising its associate’s salaries, with first-year associates earning $180,000 a year, up from $160,000. Many firms quickly matched the rate, although some in the industry such as Kelley Drye & Warren refused, stating that the raise did not match the market.

Source: Law.com

What do you think of the Cravath bonus scale? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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