Lawyer Pay

Associate bonus schedule set by Milbank is largely intact as more law firms make announcements

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Most law firms that are announcing associate bonuses are sticking with the bonus range of $15,000 to $100,000 set by Milbank.

Above the Law is keeping track of the announcements on a “compensation scorecard” and in separate posts. The bonus amounts are generally the same as last year.

The bonus schedule followed by most firms making announcements is:

Class of 2019 – $15,000 (prorated)

Class of 2018 – $15,000

Class of 2017 – $25,000

Class of 2016 – $50,000

Class of 2015 – $65,000

Class of 2014 – $80,000

Class of 2013 – $90,000

Class of 2012 – $100,000

Some firms require a minimum number of billable hours to receive a bonus, while other have no set requirements.

Law firms that are offering greater compensation include Schulte Roth & Zabel (offering an additional $20,000 and $40,000, respectively, for hitting 2,300 and 2,500 billable-hour marks), Baker McKenzie (offering unspecified above-market rates for “exceptional performance”), Skadden (offering $10,000 extra for “extraordinary performance” by senior associates), Cadwalader (paying bonuses at 120% of market for reaching 2,200 billable mark), and Fried Frank (paying bonuses 15% or 30% above market at the 2,200- and 2,450-hour marks).

Milbank announced its bonus schedule Nov. 7, followed by Cravath Nov. 11.

According to Above the Law, these firms have announced bonuses that generally match the bonus schedule set by Milbank and Cravath (with extra amounts noted above): Davis Polk, Proskauer, Freshfields, Cadwalader, Paul Weiss, Fried Frank, Holwell Shuster & Goldberg, Clifford Chance, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Debevoise, Skadden, Shearman & Sterling, Baker McKenzie, Simpson Thacher, Weil Gotshal, Sidley Austin, Dechert, and Schulte Roth & Zabel.

At Reid Collins & Tsai, associate bonuses range from $85,000 to $102,500. Ropes & Gray is matching the scale for junior associates (though the amount can be adjusted up or down), while others will receive individualized bonuses.

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