The Big Law Bonus Season Hots Up, But Small Firms Are Outpacing Their Big Law Competitors

The Big Law Bonus Season Hots Up, But Small Firms Are Outpacing Their Big Law Competitors 2

The Big Law bonuses continue and legal blog AbovetheLaw have updated their Big Law bonuses showing some interesting features, showing the ‘follow-the-leader’ nature of bonus payments, with the vast majority of the big firms paying $115,000 for the 2015 class but with the smaller boutique firms often outpacing their Big Law rivals in terms of payments.

The so-called Cravath Scale also showed the namesake law firm paying less than that figure at $105,000.

Although the ATL tables change regularly, the largest payouts for those in the 2015 class coming in at $115,000. Baker McKenzie was the first large firm to announce its bonuses, which was then followed by Boies Schiller Flexner;
Cravath, Swaine & Moore; McDermott Will & Emery; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Smaller Firm Bonuses

Smaller firms, such as Selendy Gay Elsberg is outdoing larger law firm rivals on the associate bonuses, handing out seniority-based awards as high as $126,500 for the 2015 class. The litigation shop’s workload has continued and grown following Covid and thus the larger bonus payments.

The Selendy Gay bonuses for their almost 50 associates begin at $16,500 – compared to the general bonus rate for big law firms coming in at $15,000 to $115,000.

And the Selendy Gay lawyers get some unspecified additional bonus based on the unusual ‘holistic assessment of performance and commitment”.

The other boutique firms that have outpunched their bigger law rivals have been Susman Godfrey (paying an average $160,000 for senior associates); Wilkinson Stekloff; and Reid Collins & Tsai have also beat out their Big Law competitors on year-end bonuses.

The Hours

As usual, hours worked play a part in how much bonuses might be and although not all firms disclose publicly their requirements in that regarded, the hours exceeding 2300-2500 would generally get an extraordinary bonus and over 2400-2600 an ‘extra’ extraordinary bonus’s (to use Boies Schiller’s parlance) or ‘supplemental’ to use Fried Frank parlance.

Also counted by the firms is pro bono hours worked.

See the Big Law Scale for the world’s largest law firms here.

ReFuel with the top law news weekly that's fun to read
Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top