BigLaw firms set the bar on year-end bonuses

Cravath and Davis Polk set about matching each other's announced figures

BigLaw firms set the bar on year-end bonuses

Two BigLaw firms in the US are setting the bar on year-end bonus announcements, reported the American Bar Association Journal.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore was the first to unveil its year-end associate bonuses on 22 November, with bonuses ranging from US$15,000 to US$115,000. The figures were matched by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Hogan Lovells.

Baker McKenzie had committed to matching the current scale being following by US offices, while DLA Piper revealed that it would increase the payout to productive associates. Meanwhile, Boies Schiller Flexner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson all declared that they would boost the pay for those working a greater a number of hours.

On Monday, Davis Polk revealed that not only was it matching Cravath, it was also offering special bonuses for all, with the exception of those who came in just this year. The values of the special bonuses paid out by Davis Polk were in the US$12,000-US$64,000 range.

As per Law.com, for the fourth time in the past 18 months Davis Polk has been the firm to set the going rate for either special bonuses or associate pay.

Cravath was quick to respond, announcing on Tuesday that it was matching Davis Polk’s bonuses. A number of law firms followed suit by Wednesday, including Debevoise & Plimpton; Milbank; Paul Hastings; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Proskauer Rose; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Not only did Katten Muchin Rosenman match Cravath’s rate for 2,000 hours, the former also increased the payout for additional hours.

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