Signing Bonuses

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tome
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Signing Bonuses

Postby tome » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:28 am

Do law firms give signing bonuses for regular 1st year (thus non-clerk) associates?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:37 am

tome wrote:Do law firms give signing bonuses for regular 1st year (thus non-clerk) associates?


Most of them offer relocation expenses and so on, but no, you'll have to settle for the $160k paycheck without a signing bonus.

bigben
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby bigben » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:58 pm

My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:59 pm

bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.
Isn't that just a salary advance?

bigben
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby bigben » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:00 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.
Isn't that just a salary advance?
No.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:03 pm

bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.


I've never heard anyone refer to the bar stipend as a signing bonus, but I guess if you want to go there, sure.

And no, the bar stipend isn't an advance.

However, people in the know will do a PILI fellowship anyway. $30k for the summer instead of $10k, you work 200 hours. $100 an hour - actually better money than you'll be making per hour once you start.

spondee
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:07 pm

What is a PILI fellowship?

ETA: nm. I googled: http://www.pili-law.org/fellowshipfaqs.htm
Last edited by spondee on Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:07 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.


I've never heard anyone refer to the bar stipend as a signing bonus, but I guess if you want to go there, sure.

And no, the bar stipend isn't an advance.

However, people in the know will do a PILI fellowship anyway. $30k for the summer instead of $10k, you work 200 hours. $100 an hour - actually better money than you'll be making per hour once you start.

PILI Fellows generally work five part-time weeks while studying for the bar exam (mornings at the agency, afternoons at the review course), and five full-time weeks after the exam. Most Fellows take a break of two weeks immediately before the exam for undivided study. Variations in this schedule can be arranged as long as the agency and the law firm agree (for example, Fellows sometimes put in two full-time weeks of work before the summer bar review course begins). Fellows usually have time for a vacation at the end of their Fellowships and before their firms’ start date. PILI Fellowships require 300 hours of work.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:10 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.


I've never heard anyone refer to the bar stipend as a signing bonus, but I guess if you want to go there, sure.

And no, the bar stipend isn't an advance.

However, people in the know will do a PILI fellowship anyway. $30k for the summer instead of $10k, you work 200 hours. $100 an hour - actually better money than you'll be making per hour once you start.

PILI Fellows generally work five part-time weeks while studying for the bar exam (mornings at the agency, afternoons at the review course), and five full-time weeks after the exam. Most Fellows take a break of two weeks immediately before the exam for undivided study. Variations in this schedule can be arranged as long as the agency and the law firm agree (for example, Fellows sometimes put in two full-time weeks of work before the summer bar review course begins). Fellows usually have time for a vacation at the end of their Fellowships and before their firms’ start date. PILI Fellowships require 300 hours of work.


Thanks for that, someone gave me inaccurate info (or I remembered incorrectly). Still, $66 an hour. I'm doing it because I'm clerking - the extra $20k is the only way I'll be able to pay my loans during my clerkship year, heh.

bigben
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby bigben » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:10 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.


I've never heard anyone refer to the bar stipend as a signing bonus, but I guess if you want to go there, sure.

And no, the bar stipend isn't an advance.

However, people in the know will do a PILI fellowship anyway. $30k for the summer instead of $10k, you work 200 hours. $100 an hour - actually better money than you'll be making per hour once you start.
Yeah I guess the firm doesn't call it that but some of the associates compared it to a signing bonus. And it is like a signing bonus.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:13 pm

bigben wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
bigben wrote:My firm gives a signing bonus aka bar stipend. Pretty sure most firms do this.


I've never heard anyone refer to the bar stipend as a signing bonus, but I guess if you want to go there, sure.

And no, the bar stipend isn't an advance.

However, people in the know will do a PILI fellowship anyway. $30k for the summer instead of $10k, you work 200 hours. $100 an hour - actually better money than you'll be making per hour once you start.
Yeah I guess the firm doesn't call it that but some of the associates compared it to a signing bonus. And it is like a signing bonus.


Yeah, I suppose. When I think "signing bonus," I think the $50k that clerks get, etc, not the bar stipend, relocation expenses, blah blah. But whatever label you give it, in the end it's $$, and that's all that matters.

NYAssociate
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:05 pm

.
Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:13 pm

NYAssociate wrote:Amount of misinformation here is staggering. Some firms give bar stipends, but not all. Most big firms based in NYC give salary advances, not stipends. This is compensated for by giving associates a pro-rated bonus at the end of the stub year. Some firms that give stipends also give the stub bonus. It varies from firm to firm.
Vindication!

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California Babe
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby California Babe » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:12 pm

NYAssociate wrote:Amount of misinformation here is staggering. Some firms give bar stipends, but not all. Most big firms based in NYC give salary advances, not stipends. This is compensated for by giving associates a pro-rated bonus at the end of the stub year. Some firms that give stipends also give the stub bonus. It varies from firm to firm.



Given this is TLS, surely the amount of misinformation isn't staggering? :wink:

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:23 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
NYAssociate wrote:Amount of misinformation here is staggering. Some firms give bar stipends, but not all. Most big firms based in NYC give salary advances, not stipends. This is compensated for by giving associates a pro-rated bonus at the end of the stub year. Some firms that give stipends also give the stub bonus. It varies from firm to firm.
Vindication!


Huh. Well, apparently, the 35 firms I have interviewed with have all magically been in the group that gives bar stipends, not salary advances. But so it goes. Yet another reason Chicago > NYC, I guess.

NYAssociate
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:29 pm

.
Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NYAssociate
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:45 pm

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bigben
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby bigben » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:11 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
NYAssociate wrote:Amount of misinformation here is staggering. Some firms give bar stipends, but not all. Most big firms based in NYC give salary advances, not stipends. This is compensated for by giving associates a pro-rated bonus at the end of the stub year. Some firms that give stipends also give the stub bonus. It varies from firm to firm.
Vindication!


Huh. Well, apparently, the 35 firms I have interviewed with have all magically been in the group that gives bar stipends, not salary advances. But so it goes. Yet another reason Chicago > NYC, I guess.
It must suck to have to live off of a credit card or something during your bar summer.

NYAssociate
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:52 pm

.

Anonymous User
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:16 pm

Sorry to necromance, but I figured asking here might be marginally less douchey than creating an entirely new thread.

Got my signing bonus today, was a little surprised the firm withheld for federal and state taxes. Labeled as a signing bonus, not a salary advance (no impact on future bonus, wages, etc.). Is this the norm?

*Ducks to avoid things being thrown at me for being an ungrateful asshole.*

TooOld4This
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Sorry to necromance, but I figured asking here might be marginally less douchey than creating an entirely new thread.

Got my signing bonus today, was a little surprised the firm withheld for federal and state taxes. Labeled as a signing bonus, not a salary advance (no impact on future bonus, wages, etc.). Is this the norm?

*Ducks to avoid things being thrown at me for being an ungrateful asshole.*


Is getting a signing bonus the norm? No.

Is having taxes withheld the norm? Yes.

c3pO4
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:34 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sorry to necromance, but I figured asking here might be marginally less douchey than creating an entirely new thread.

Got my signing bonus today, was a little surprised the firm withheld for federal and state taxes. Labeled as a signing bonus, not a salary advance (no impact on future bonus, wages, etc.). Is this the norm?

*Ducks to avoid things being thrown at me for being an ungrateful asshole.*


Is getting a signing bonus the norm? No.

Is having taxes withheld the norm? Yes.


Ya, just so you won't be surprised in a few weeks --- they'll withhold taxes from your paycheck too. Sorry bro. The tax man cometh.

Anonymous User
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:50 pm

c3pO4 wrote:Ya, just so you won't be surprised in a few weeks --- they'll withhold taxes from your paycheck too. Sorry bro. The tax man cometh.


I think it's pretty self-evident that one would be taxed on a bar stipend. It's gross income no matter what way you cut it. The less-clear question for me is whether the firm would withhold taxes on the bar stipend and on what basis. The necromancing OP's post partially answers this; yes, the firms apparently will withhold taxes on your bar stipend. And the second half to the question is also easy in OP's situation; they'll withhold using his/her W-4 from the summer associate gig since it's only a few weeks after the summer gig is over. But, if you're like me and won't receive your bar stipend until February (a different taxable year), it's hard to see on what basis the firm would withhold the taxable amount. What if I chose to file as "married filing jointly" this year, but want to file as "married and withhold at higher single rate" next year? Hmm...

In the scheme of things, this is soooo not important.

ruski
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby ruski » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:11 pm

so PILI is only for Chicago? is there something similar for NY. is there anything you can do in NY to make some cash over the summer?

CyLaw
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Re: Signing Bonuses

Postby CyLaw » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
c3pO4 wrote:Ya, just so you won't be surprised in a few weeks --- they'll withhold taxes from your paycheck too. Sorry bro. The tax man cometh.


I think it's pretty self-evident that one would be taxed on a bar stipend. It's gross income no matter what way you cut it. The less-clear question for me is whether the firm would withhold taxes on the bar stipend and on what basis. The necromancing OP's post partially answers this; yes, the firms apparently will withhold taxes on your bar stipend. And the second half to the question is also easy in OP's situation; they'll withhold using his/her W-4 from the summer associate gig since it's only a few weeks after the summer gig is over. But, if you're like me and won't receive your bar stipend until February (a different taxable year), it's hard to see on what basis the firm would withhold the taxable amount. What if I chose to file as "married filing jointly" this year, but want to file as "married and withhold at higher single rate" next year? Hmm...

In the scheme of things, this is soooo not important.


They withhold using the guidelines set by the IRS. Employer's Tax Guide # Supplemental Wages. As for the W-4 question, you can always submit a new W-4 to have them change the withholding prior to bonus payment. Normally, an employer will just continue to use the W-4 you submitted when you started work with them, unless you file a new one with the employer.




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