Lawyer Pay

Big Firms Often Pay Bar Exam Costs, Sometimes Pay Signing Bonuses

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Most of the big law firms help their lawyers pick up the costs of bar exam fees and bar review courses, according to an informal survey of readers by the blog Above the Law.

Fewer readers were paid a graduation bonus, a salary advance or a “stub bonus” for the period between an associate’s start date and the end of the first year, the blog’s survey found.

The survey shows some firms simply reimburse new hires for bar exam and course fees, while others pay bar stipends as high as $18,000. But stipends more typically ranged from $5,000 to $12,000. Above the Law relied on readers rather than law firms to supply the information.

Fewer firms paid signing bonuses, but when they were awarded, they often ranged from $3,000 to $10,000, readers told the blog.

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