Lawyer Pay

Baker McKenzie announces year-end bonuses of up to $115K; it's 'nothing but crickets' for 2022 special bonuses

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Baker McKenzie is apparently the first law firm to kick off BigLaw’s bonus season.

Baker McKenzie’s year-end bonuses range from $20,000 for the class of 2021 to $115,000 for the class of 2015 and over, Above the Law reports.

Publications that followed with stories include Bloomberg Law and

Baker McKenzie was also the first firm to announce bonuses in 2020. But in 2021, Cravath, Swaine & Moore was the first firm to announce.

Here is the Baker McKenzie scale, which tracks last year’s range and step increases:

    • Class of 2021: $20,000

    • Class of 2020: $30,000

    • Class of 2019: $57,500

    • Class of 2018: $75,000

    • Class of 2017: $90,000

    • Class of 2016: $105,000

    • Class of 2015 and more senior: $115,000

To be eligible for a bonus, associates must meet minimum expectations of 2,000 billable hours, which includes billable credit for hours spent on pro bono or diversity and inclusion work.

Bonuses are prorated based on start dates and status changes, according to the bonus memo obtained by Above the Law. Associates will receive the bonuses in their Feb. 10 paychecks. pointed out that Baker McKenzie paid a premium for associates billing more than 2,300 hours but eliminated the extra cash this year.

Also absent from the bonus scale is any mention of special bonuses, which are paid in addition to year-end bonuses. Last year, several firms paid special bonuses. Special bonuses at the end of the year ranged from $4,000 to $23,000, while spring and fall 2021 bonuses ranged from $12,000 to $64,000.

Littler Mendelson announced special bonuses for some lawyers this summer, but other BigLaw firms did not jump on board.

“We’ve heard nothing but crickets,” Above the Law reported Aug. 18.

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