Associate Bonuses

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Anonymous User
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Associate Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:14 am

What are the average bonuses for associates in big-law? I know that it varies by firm, so perhaps there is a rough average for V-10... and then another for V-100?

If someone has knowledge about this, please post the year (e.g. 2nd year associate) and bonus size. I've been able to find average salaries, so I'm not asking for that (feel free to post if you wish, though).

I've looked on various websites for this answer, but have not been able to find anything. If you know of a good website, please post that.

I'm interested because I'm trying to decide between two different career paths--one obviously being law--and would like to see what kind of total compensation can be expected in each. I also realize that big law is difficult to get into, but for the sake of this thread, please avoid that vein of argument.

Thank you for your help.

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JG Hall
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby JG Hall » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:21 am

You couldn't find this on ATL? Did you even try?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=law+firm+associate+bonuses+2009

2009...
Class of 2008 — $7,500
Class of 2007 — $10,000
Class of 2006 — $15,000
Class of 2005 — $20,000
Class of 2004 — $25,000
Class of 2003 — $30,000
Class of 2002 — $30,000

down from 2007...
Class of 2007: Year-end bonus 35K, no special bonus
Class of 2006: Year end 35K, special 10K
Class of 2005: Year end 40K, special 15K
Class of 2004: Year end 45K, special 20K
Class of 2003: Year end 50K, special 30K
Class of 2002: Year end 55K, special 40K
Class of 2001: Year end 60K, special 50K

excuse me while I go impale myself over the potential loss of between $182,500 and $347,500

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Blindmelon
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:33 am

Wow... thats... depressing.

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homestyle28
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:46 am

Blindmelon wrote:Wow... thats... depressing.

-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:54 am

homestyle28 wrote:
Blindmelon wrote:Wow... thats... depressing.

-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.


Depressing as its a steep decline over about 10 years, showing that things will prob continue to get worse. NY to 140?

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:13 am

-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.



I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.

Depressing as its a steep decline over about 10 years, showing that things will prob continue to get worse. NY to 140?


Huh?

(a) Do you know what a trend is?
(b) Do you read the news?

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paratactical
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby paratactical » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.



I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.


2900? That would be a terrible terrible year.

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Bosque
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Bosque » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:23 pm

paratactical wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.



I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.


2900? That would be a terrible terrible year.


Also, a one shot deal. That kind of time put into work is unsustainable. More than two years in a row and you are likely to die from the overwork/stress/obesity from never working out and always eating junk.

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paratactical
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby paratactical » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:34 pm

Bosque wrote:
paratactical wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
-1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.



I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.


2900? That would be a terrible terrible year.


Also, a one shot deal. That kind of time put into work is unsustainable. More than two years in a row and you are likely to die from the overwork/stress/obesity from never working out and always eating junk.

Yeah, I mean, holy shit. I've had 2300-2400 years and those were a little rough around the edges. I couldn't imagine keeping up at 2900. The star first year at my old firm billed near that, but he's also going to be youngest partner evar.

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MrKappus
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby MrKappus » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.


I don't think many people who say things like this have actually worked a 90-hour week, let alone 50 of them in 52 weeks. It's 12 hours/day, 7 days a week. 15 hours/day 6 days a week. 18 hours/day 5 days/week. A very, very small percentage of people, even law students/lawyers, can do this w/ any degree of sustainability and not die. I'd guess 0.1% of the lawyer population.
Last edited by MrKappus on Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:42 pm

MrKappus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Depressing as its a steep decline over about 10 years, showing that things will prob continue to get worse. NY to 140?


I don't think many people who say things like this have actually worked a 90-hour week, let alone 50 of them in 52 weeks. It's 12 hours/day, 7 days a week. 15 hours/day 6 days a week. 18 hours/day 5 days/week. A very, very small percentage of people, even law students/lawyers, can do this w/ any degree of sustainability and not die. I'd guess 0.1% of the lawyer population.


That didn't make any sense. What does my assertion about bonuses going doing and wages in biglaw potentially getting depressed have to do with how many hours I've worked before? Not that its really important, but I used to work in management consulting, and I've worked 90 hour weeks. It sucks. The last thing you want to hear when you've billed your 70th hour is that your bonus is going down. I quit because the time wasn't worth the money - consulting sucks and the bonuses were often depressing even at the high end given what they used to be before I got hired.
Last edited by Blindmelon on Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MrKappus
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby MrKappus » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:43 pm

Use some common sense. I quoted the wrong text.

Edit: I too did mgmt consulting, and the 10-15 70 hr weeks I did each year made me want to quit. I hope biglaw's better. But it probably won't be.
Last edited by MrKappus on Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:44 pm

MrKappus wrote:Use some common sense. I quoted the wrong text.


Must you always be a prick about everything? Its an internet forum - chill out sometimes man.

EDIT: took out some useless internet snark.

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underdawg
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby underdawg » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:54 pm

not to mention that 2900/yr isn't going to be 12hr/day every day. more like randomly 8-20 hrs/day or some crazy nonsense. prob a lot of padding going on if you ask me.

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MrKappus
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby MrKappus » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:59 pm

I'll do my best. I didn't think I was being that prickish. My post, as you noted, had absolutely nothing to do w/ what I quoted. But I could probably be nicer. On occasion. Maybe.

OP: keep in mind that bonus structures vary from firm to firm, and that some firms still pay out way above market (not just Wachtell). Others pay out nothing. Some do weird salary holdback type deals that work out well for some and badly for others. The trend in your data's obvious, but there's still opportunity in there for people who (1) can get biglaw jobs, and (2) can perform well in them. Small comfort, maybe. But it's something, at least.

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:19 pm

More than two years in a row and you are likely to die from the overwork/stress/obesity from never working out and always eating junk.


Yes, those associates at Wachtell have a high mortality rate... Not.

Blindmelon: (I know I'm not quoting you above; I'm making a separate point here)


1) If you're looking just at the past 10 years, you'll notice that bonuses actually went up and then down. Hardly a steady decline.

2) If you restrict your focus to these past few years, you'll have noticed a more V-shaped curve for compensation. Many firms cut salaries, but these days many more are restoring them.

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Noval
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Noval » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. Any bonus on top 160k is frosting, esp. since it means u kept your job.

I used to be in this camp, but am no longer. Some associates bill the higher hours under the expectation that they'll get a bonus. While I'd be satisfied if I received $160,000 for billing 2,000 hours. I expect more for billing 2,900 hours.[/quote]

Just because you're the moron who let the Partners abuse you doesn't mean you "deserve more"...

If you're forced to bill 2,900 hours then you're just getting ripped off down the line, the firm i work at has a 1900 hour cut-off and at 2000 you're sure to keep your job, + my Bonus in 2009 was 40k with a base of 145k, not bad considering i did 2,300 hours and my Partners somehow "like my attitude" ...

PS:I know, it's Canadian BigLaw, but our firm's structure is the same as U.S. Firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:23 pm

Just because you're the moron who let the Partners abuse you doesn't mean you "deserve more"...

If you're forced to bill 2,900 hours then you're just getting ripped off down the line, the firm i work at has a 1900 hour cut-off and at 2000 you're sure to keep your job, + my Bonus in 2009 was 40k with a base of 145k, not bad considering i did 2,300 hours and my Partners somehow "like my attitude" ...

PS:I know, it's Canadian BigLaw, but our firm's structure is the same as U.S. Firms.


Whoa, a little hostile there aren't we? I'm glad your cute little Canadian firm treats you so well.

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:13 am

I wonder how much padding really goes on.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:47 am

Noval wrote:If you're forced to bill 2,900 hours then you're just getting ripped off down the line, the firm i work at has a 1900 hour cut-off and at 2000 you're sure to keep your job, + my Bonus in 2009 was 40k with a base of 145k, not bad considering i did 2,300 hours and my Partners somehow "like my attitude" ...

PS:I know, it's Canadian BigLaw, but our firm's structure is the same as U.S. Firms.



In Canada you have to put up with "slut" secretaries who are "only in it for the money" though...

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:04 am

You also have to work at a "Canadian Law Firm." Who cares about those firms???

But apparently, those who bill 2,900 at a US firm are being "forced" to do it (though while I certainly accept that this happens at some firms, it definitely didn't happen in my situation--I chose to bill it).

pasteurizedmilk wrote:I wonder how much padding really goes on.


Since billing is, by its nature, an inexact science, some padding will always happen.

The best advice I can give is to do your billing at the end of the day. Don't push it off.

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James Bond
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby James Bond » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:11 am

Aqualibrium wrote:
Noval wrote:If you're forced to bill 2,900 hours then you're just getting ripped off down the line, the firm i work at has a 1900 hour cut-off and at 2000 you're sure to keep your job, + my Bonus in 2009 was 40k with a base of 145k, not bad considering i did 2,300 hours and my Partners somehow "like my attitude" ...

PS:I know, it's Canadian BigLaw, but our firm's structure is the same as U.S. Firms.



In Canada you have to put up with "slut" secretaries who are "only in it for the money" though...


oh that sounds terrible :roll:

Aqualibrium
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:14 am

James Bond wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:
Noval wrote:If you're forced to bill 2,900 hours then you're just getting ripped off down the line, the firm i work at has a 1900 hour cut-off and at 2000 you're sure to keep your job, + my Bonus in 2009 was 40k with a base of 145k, not bad considering i did 2,300 hours and my Partners somehow "like my attitude" ...

PS:I know, it's Canadian BigLaw, but our firm's structure is the same as U.S. Firms.



In Canada you have to put up with "slut" secretaries who are "only in it for the money" though...


oh that sounds terrible :roll:


It's an allusion to a particularly memorable quote by Noval in another thread...

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James Bond
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby James Bond » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:18 am

Aqualibrium wrote:It's an allusion to a particularly memorable quote by Noval in another thread...


Ahhh. Still, if Canada law advertised that more they could really rope in some more T14 talent

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Associate Bonuses

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:You also have to work at a "Canadian Law Firm." Who cares about those firms???

But apparently, those who bill 2,900 at a US firm are being "forced" to do it (though while I certainly accept that this happens at some firms, it definitely didn't happen in my situation--I chose to bill it).

pasteurizedmilk wrote:I wonder how much padding really goes on.


Since billing is, by its nature, an inexact science, some padding will always happen.

The best advice I can give is to do your billing at the end of the day. Don't push it off.
For sure.

Is it true what certain people say re: padding of 15-20% being an "unspoken norm?"




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