Law Firms

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The law firm bonus scale set by Baker McKenzie this year is gaining acceptance as more law firms announced bonuses this week.

Larger firms are paying year-end bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, and many are adding special bonuses ranging from $7,500 to $40,000. The year-end scale is the same as last year.

Law firms that announced market-rate bonuses since Nov. 25 are:

• Davis Polk & Wardwell, paying year-end and special bonuses. (Above the Law, Law.com, Law360, Bloomberg Law)

• Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, paying year-end and special bonuses, with an hourly requirement for year-end bonuses. Some are eligible for special premiums. (Above the Law, Law.com, Law360)

• Paul Hastings, paying year-end and special bonuses, with special bonuses paid only to “qualifying associates.” (Above the Law, Law.com, Law360)

• Proskauer Rose, paying year-end and special bonuses, with lower rates in a few smaller markets. (Above the Law, Law.com, Law360)

• Shearman & Sterling, paying year-end and special bonuses, although the year-end bonuses are benchmarks, and the actual bonuses are based on performance. (Above the Law, Law360)

• Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, paying year-end and special bonuses. (Above the Law, Law360, Bloomberg Law)

• Weil, Gotshal & Manges, paying year-end and special bonuses, with an hourly requirement for special bonuses. (Above the Law, Law.com, Law360, Bloomberg Law)

• White & Case, paying year-end and special bonuses, with an hourly requirement for year-end bonuses. The law firm is also paying $1,500 special bonuses to support staff, in addition to their year-end bonuses. (Above the Law here and here, Law360)

• Willkie Farr & Gallagher, paying year-end and special bonuses. (Above the Law, Law360, Bloomberg Law)

Baker McKenzie was the first BigLaw firm to announced 2020 year-end bonuses with a Nov. 11 memo. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, traditionally the bonus market leader, matched Baker McKenzie’s bonuses Nov. 23 and said it will also pay special bonuses already announced by several law firms.

Several law firms announced bonuses last week after Cravath’s announcement.

They are Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (paying year-end and special bonuses); Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (paying year-end and special bonuses); Milbank (paying year-end bonuses and special bonuses); and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (paying year-end and special bonuses, with a possible additional $10,000 for senior associates).

Above the Law is keeping track of the announcements in this bonus tracker.

The year-end scale is:

• Class of 2020: $15,000 (prorated)

• Class of 2019: $15,000

• Class of 2018: $25,000

• Class of 2017: $50,000

• Class of 2016: $65,000

• Class of 2015: $80,000

• Class of 2014: $90,000

• Class of 2013: $100,000

The special bonus scale is:

• Class of 2020: $7,500 (prorated)

• 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