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Elite Litigation Law Firm Announces Associate Bonuses Surpassing Big Law Rates
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Susman Godfrey LLP, Houston based elite litigation law firm, announced associate bonuses on Monday. Once again, the firm surpassed the Big Law market rate by announcing six-figure bonuses for many of its associates, topping the median bonus figure at $170,000. The Big Law market rate tops out at $140,000 after combining year-end bonuses and special bonuses at the top-paying firms.

This is how much the firm will pay out to its associates:

“For purposes of comparing Susman Godfrey associate bonuses to those of law firms that base bonuses on law school graduation year, here are the median bonuses for Susman Godfrey associates by graduation year:


  • 2012 (or earlier): $170,000
  • 2013: $  160,000
  • 2014: $  145,000
  • 2015: $  125,000
  • 2016: $  120,000
  • 2017: $  115,000
  • 2018: $    80,000”

Even the most junior associates (Class of 2018) will receive an average of $80,000 as a bonus. After combining year-end and special bonuses at top law firms, the market rate for the Class of 2018 ranges from $25,000 to $35,000. Busting these market rates, Susman is giving $45,000 to $55,000 more to its associates than other prestigious law firms.

Clearly, the firm has outdone the figures set by Cravath and Milbank, known for setting new benchmarks in Big Law compensation. Cravath, Swaine and Moore announced in November that it would be paying year-end and special bonuses in the range from $15,000 to $100,000 and $7,500 to $40,000 respectively to its associates. Milbank also announced that it would match Cravath’s year-end bonus range from $15,000 to $100,000.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Susman’s Founding Partner, Steve Susman, passed away in July 2020 due to COVID-19. Terming 2020 as a “truly superb year financially,” managing partners Kalpana Srinivasan and Neal Manne attributed the firm’s success to cooperation between its partners, associates, and other employees who worked tirelessly during the pandemic. They also congratulated the six associates elevated to partnership, including four women.

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With this, Susman Godfrey LLP has once again smashed the market rates for year-end bonuses, substantially outshining the figures paid by other top firms, including Cravath, Milbank, and other Big Law firms.

With new bonus payment structures coming up now and then, holiday bonuses can be a tricky business for both the employer and the employees. Refer to Lawcrossing’s guide about law firm holiday bonuses to get a comprehensive overview of these bonuses.



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