April 13, 2021

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Associate Compensation Scorecard: The Spring 2021 Special Bonus Tracker

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, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsSpring is in the air, and bonus season is here once again. We don’t usually see many bonuses in March, but like 2020, 2021 is turning out to be an odd year.

Since we broke the news of the special bonus scale for associates and counsel at large law firms in the United States — a trend that was started by Willkie on Friday, March 19, 2021 (offering between $7,500 and $40,000), and quickly one-upped by Davis Polk on Monday, March 22, 2021 (offering between $12,000 and $64,000) — many firms quickly fell in line and matched the generous scale. When will your firm announce its special bonuses?

As usual, we are compiling a table of all the firms that have already matched the special bonus scale, the minimum hours required to receive those bonuses (if available), and the date those bonuses will be paid. Today, we unveil that table for your viewing pleasure. We will be updating this table on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times, as news on bonuses is announced. If you see any information here that is incorrect or needs clarification, let us know.

Help us help you now (and if/when you decide to make a lateral move in the future). Let us know what your firm’s minimum billable hours targets are for special bonus eligibility and when your firm will pay those bonuses. You generally must remain at your firm until the payout date to receive them, as stated in most memos, which could make it all the more difficult for you to leave your job.

As a little reminder, we love covering Biglaw bonuses, but we need your help. As soon as your firm’s bonus memo comes out, please email it to us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Bonus”). We always keep our sources on bonus stories anonymous. There’s no need to send the memo using your firm email account; your personal email account is fine. Please be sure to include the memo as proof; we like to post complete bonus memos as a service to our readers. You can take a photo of the memo and attach as a picture if you’re worried about metadata in a PDF/Word file.

FirmDate MatchedMinimum HoursPayout Date
Willkie
Class of 2020: $7.5K $12K
Class of 2014+: $40K $64K
FIRST MOVER
March 19, 2021
NoneJune 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Davis Polk
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 22, 2021NoneApril 26, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Fenwick & West
Tier 1/Level 1: $12K
Tier 3/Counsel: $64K
March 23, 20211950 creditable hours, measured pro rata (the firm also offered reward credits of up to $15K for rest, recreation, and relaxation in mid-March)May 2021 / September 2021
Milbank
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 24, 2021None (September bonuses “may take into account individual contributions” and “some individuals may receive a higher or lower amount than the specific level described above”; counsel bonuses “determined and communicated on an individual basis”)April 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Skadden
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 24, 20211800 “productive” hours, measured pro rata (those who don’t meet the eligibility requirement in June will receive “catch-up” payments in December if the hours threshold is met by then)June 2021 / December 2021
Cleary
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 24, 2021NoneApril 30, 2021 / August 30, 2021
Paul Weiss
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 24, 2021NoneJune 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Debevoise
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 24, 2021NoneJune 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Simpson Thacher
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 25, 2021None (bonuses for counsel/senior counsel “determined at year-end on a case-by-case basis”)June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Paul Hastings
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 25, 2021Eligibility details to come sometime in April 2021May 28, 2021 / October 29, 2021
Goodwin
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 25, 20211850 annualized hours (1750 hours for special counsel ($64K total), senior attorneys ($44K total), and department and discovery attorneys/science advisors/science law clerks ($12K total))July 1, 2021 / October 1, 2021
Proskauer
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 25, 2021NoneMay 14, 2021 / November 15, 2021
Hueston Hennigan
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 26, 2021NoneJune 2021 / September 2021
DLA Piper
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 26, 2021NoneMay 2021 / September 2021
Ropes & Gray
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 26, 2021NoneApril 30, 2021 / Late December 2021
Gunderson Dettmer
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 26, 20211950 annualized hours (if anyone misses the cutoff for either period, but finishes the year with 1950+ hours, they’ll receive “catch-up” bonus payments)May 2021 / September 2021
Cooley
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/Counsel: $64K
March 26, 20211950 creditable hours, measured pro rata (those who miss the June payout will be eligible to receive the September payment if they hit the required hours)June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Morgan Lewis
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 26, 2021NoneJune 2021 / October 2021
Latham
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 29, 2021Associates who are “at or above their individual hours budget” as of April 30 and September 30 will receive bonusesMay 14, 2021 / October 15, 2021
Wilson Sonsini
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2012+: $64K
March 29, 2021Those on track to bill at least 1950 bonus-eligible hours in 2021 will receive payouts based on year-to-date hours billed as of May 31 and August 31; make-up payments will be availableJune 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Weil Gotshal
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+/3-Year Counsel: $64K
March 29, 2021NoneMay 2021 / November 2021
Lowenstein Sandler
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2013: $64K
March 29, 2021Annualized minimum of 1800 client billable hours and at least 150 firm directed hours (e.g., pro bono, diversity efforts, recruiting, practice group activities, or additional billable hours) from October 1, 2020 through the applicable measurement dates (April 30, 2021 and July 31, 2021); firm will offer catch-up payments for anyone who misses the mark on April 30, but meets the eligibility threshold at July 31June 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Cravath
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014: $64K
March 29, 2021NoneApril 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Kirkland & Ellis
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2015+: $59.2K
NSP: $64K
March 29, 2021NoneApril 30, 2021 / September 30, 2021
Pillsbury
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014/Counsel: $64K
March 29, 2021Those who are “tracking to meet or exceed” client billable and total creditable hours targets for the periods ending April 30 and September 30 are eligible for bonuses; “catch up” credit available to be met by September 30 or December 31May 15, 2021 / October 15, 2021
Sidley
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 29, 2021NoneJune 2021 / November 2021
Akin Gump
Class of 2020: $12K
Class of 2014+: $64K
March 30, 2021“[P]roductivity will not be factored into the May bonus”; unstated in memo, but October payment may be hours-basedMay 15, 2021 / October 15, 2021

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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