Business of Law

More BigLaw firms match Simpson bonuses of $15K to $100K

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An early start to the end-of-year bonus season was kicked off Friday by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Its announcement of an associate bonus schedule of $15,000 (prorated for incoming first-years) to $100,000, depending on seniority, was quickly matched by two other BigLaw firms.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison said later in the day that they also would cut checks to associates in the same amount, reported Above the Law and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

And Milbank Tweed Hadley and McCloy announced on Sunday that it, too, would pay end-of-year bonuses of $15,000 to $100,000, reports the Am Law Daily.

Last year, the bonus schedule at these firms was $10,000 to $60,000.

However, Cahill Gordon & Reindel stood out last year by paying bonuses of $30,000 to $95,000.

And, a year before the economy crashed, the bonuses paid by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in 2007 ranged from $35,000 to $110,000, the Am Law Daily says.

Legal consultants said a boom in mergers and acquisitions this year kept BigLaw firms busy and set the stage for the bigger bonuses.

“For the first time in six years, the legal economy is back on track,” consultant Peter Zeughauser told the Wall Street Journal.

Related coverage: “Early announcement of big year-end bonuses stuns Simpson Thacher associates”

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