Law Firms

Baker McKenzie kicks off BigLaw bonus season; how much will its associates receive?

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Baker McKenzie is the first law firm to announce 2020 bonuses this year.

Above the Law has the news. Baker McKenzie plans to pay its U.S. associates bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, matching last year’s bonus scale. The amounts could increase, however; the law firm says it will “ensure that our bonus scale matches any increases in the market should they occur.”

Baker McKenzie also announced that its salary cuts that took effect May 1 will end Nov. 30, one month sooner than planned. And it has plans to “reward our top performers whose practices have been impacted by the economic downturn, as well as to others demonstrating exemplary performance in the face of increasing demands on their time this year.”

Here is the full bonus scale:

• Class of 2019 – $15,000 bonus

• Class of 2018 – $25,000 bonus

• Class of 2017 – $50,000 bonus

• Class of 2016 – $65,000 bonus

• Class of 2015 – $80,000 bonus

• Class of 2014 – $90,000 bonus

• Class of 2013 and more senior – $100,000 bonus

Last year, the first law firm to announce bonuses was Milbank. Traditionally, Cravath, Swaine & Moore was the first to announce.

Above the Law points out that Baker McKenzie did not offer special appreciation bonuses this fall. Davis Polk & Wardwell set the standard for those bonuses, paying $7,500 to $40,000 to U.S. associates based on length of service.

The bonus news follows layoffs at Baker McKenzie that were announced in September. The firm laid off 6% of its workforce in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Those laid off included lawyers, other timekeepers and business professionals.

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