US firms announce bumper year-end bonuses
14 December 2012
For the first time since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, leading US firms have increased associates' year-end bonuses. 1 PQEs at several of the top firms will take home a $10k (£6.2k) bonus in place of last year's $7.5k (£4.6k) and lawyers with 7 years' experience will trouser a whopping $50k (£31k) instead of 2011's $37.5k (£23k). The news ends four years
Cravath Swaine & Moore, as is traditional, was the first of the
Biglaw gang to announce its plumped-up figures.
UK associates may gaze longingly at, but not touch, the bonus table:
| 2011 Bonus
|2012 Bonus |
|| $10,000 (pro rated)|
The figures for 2011 don't take into account the mid-year bonuses showered on associates last March
, and the picture will look a lot less rosy if they aren't handed out again next Spring. But so far, firms seem optimistic. Davis Polk, Sullivan & Cromwell, MoFo and White & Case
have all rushed out announcements confirming that they will match Cravath's numbers.
Of course there's still a long way to go before US associates reach the dizzy heights of 2007. Back then NQs got a bonus of $45k (£27.7k), and 7 PQEs could be found heaving $110k (£68k) down the snowy sidewalks. Not bad for a tip.
*where applicable. Some firms, like Cravath, used to top out at 7 PQE with the justification that anyone more qualified should have been made up or given the boot.