The gold standard for law firm bonuses is generally whatever Cravaths decides to do and now, once again, they’ve delivered in a COVID-ravaged legal sector even though a number of Big Law firms have been showing the way. Cravaths’ bonus list has not been earth-shattering, but very nice all the same.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore have announced that associates will receive year-end bonuses pitched at the same level as last year – which is to say starting at $15,000 for the first -year associates and going up to $100,000 for the senior associates, along with special bonuses on a scale, as outlined by Davis Polk & Wardwell last September.
The Cravath 2020 bonus schedule is below –
You will recall, (if you follow associate bonus news) that Davis Polk followed Mayer Brown and Squire Patton Boggs by paying special bonuses to high performers during the COVID pandemic.
In fact it was Cooley who started offering associates their special pandemic bonuses of between $2,500 and $7,500 and then followed so close on the heels that it must have hurt Cooley’s time in the sun, when Davis Polk started their special ‘thank you’ bonuses at $7,500 going right up to $40,000.
COVID ‘Thank You’ Bonuses
Here is the bonus schedule as reported by Above the Law at the time:
• Class of 2019: $7,500
• Class of 2018: $10,000
• Class of 2017: $20,000
• Class of 2016: $27,500
• Class of 2015: $32,500
• Class of 2014: $37,000
• Class of 2013: $40,000
And now, after saying they would not be following suit on the bonus scale a couple of months ago, Paul Weiss have announced that they will be paying bonuses starting at $15,000 for the 2020 associates (plus $7,500 pro-rated special) and rising to $100,000 (plus $40,000 special bonus) to 2013 and senior associates.
Earlier, Paul Weiss had said that it would not be appropriate for them to match the Davis Polk bonuses when there was “economic trauma”. Seems they got over those feelings.
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