Law Firms

Cravath, first to announce year-end bonuses, is among the firms matching Davis Polk's special bonuses

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore—the first law firm to announce year-end associate bonuses of up to $115,000—has matched additional special bonuses being paid by Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Cravath’s Nov. 22 year-end bonus announcement set the scale, which ranges from $15,000 (prorated) for the class of 2021 to $115,000 for the class of 2014. A few law firms announced a match, but most held back while they apparently waited for an announcement by Davis Polk.

On Monday, Davis Polk announced that it was matching Cravath’s scale while adding special bonuses of 20% for all but the class of 2021. It is the fourth time that Davis Polk has set the going rate for special bonuses or associate pay in the last 18 months, according to Special bonuses previously paid this year range from $12,000 to $64,000.

Cravath matched the special bonuses Tuesday, report Above the Law, Bloomberg Law, and Law360. Several other law firms also matched Davis Polk, according to those stories and Above the Law’s bonus tracker.

As of Wednesday morning, other large firms that matched Davis Polk included Debevoise & Plimpton; Milbank; Katten Muchin Rosenman (matching Cravath for 2,000 hours and paying more for higher hours); Paul Hastings; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Proskauer Rose; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Large firms announcing that they were matching the Cravath scale before Davis Polk’s announcement were Baker McKenzie (which committed to match the prevailing scale in U.S. offices); Boies Schiller Flexner (which will pay more for higher hours); Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (which will pay more for higher hours); Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; DLA Piper (which will pay more to productive associates); Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (matching in three cities and paying more for higher hours); and Hogan Lovells.

Here is the schedule for year-end bonuses, as set by Cravath:

• Class of 2021: $15,000 (prorated)

• Class of 2020: $20,000

• Class of 2019: $30,000

• Class of 2018: $57,500

• Class of 2017: $75,000

• Class of 2016: $90,000

• Class of 2015: $105,000

• Class of 2014: $115,000

Here are the one-time special bonuses, as set by Davis Polk:

• Class of 2020: $4,000

• Class of 2019: $6,000

• Class of 2018: $11,500

• Class of 2017: $15,000

• Class of 2016: $18,000

• Class of 2015: $21,000

• Class of 2014 and senior: $23,000

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