Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

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Anonymous User
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Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:31 am

Not a fan of Vault Rankings, but am a fan of paying off this soul-crushing debt ASAP.

So far all the firms I have heard about that pay above-market bonuses are litigation-focused (W&C, Boies, Susman) and I'm not delusional enough to think that WLRK is likely.

With that being said, what are some BigLaw firms with corporate practices that pay above-market? So far I've heard KE (although they seem to be litigation-heavy as well) and Cahill Gordon. Any others that I should keep on my radar?

Thanks in advance.

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stillwater
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby stillwater » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:35 am

this is probably not something you can rely on either way. sooooo i wouldnt choose a firm on potential bonuses.

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thesealocust
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby thesealocust » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:46 am

Here are the places I can think of where you could reasonably expect a chance at a higher bonus than the average big firm attorney:

WLRK
Susman
Boeis
Quinn
Kirkland
Jones Day (NB: or so they would have you believe; it's very 'black box')
Cahill (NB: it's been relatively minor and intermittent, but they've definitely been enjoying occasionally SHATTERING the market with spring/summer bonuses and the like)
S&C / Skadden / Cravath / STB (these firms are probably the most likely to ever have a one-off higher-than-peers bonus year or to set a high bar for bonuses. STB raised salaries to 160K initially, Skadden had a year where they paid double the bonus of every other firm, S&C sometimes does spring bonuses, and Cravath sets the market pretty frequently these days)

Unless I'm forgetting a firm, pretty much everywhere else you're looking at a market bonus, a market bonus for your region, or no bonus.

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hephaestus
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby hephaestus » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:02 pm

I thought W&C paid 180 but no bonuses. Is this no longer the case?

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Jsa725
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Jsa725 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:37 pm

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Last edited by Jsa725 on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:08 pm

Irell has a tradition of paying above market bonuses. Litigation heavy, but they have a corporate presence.

bdubs
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby bdubs » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:48 pm

Kirkland consistently pays a rather sizable premium to Cravath scale and they have pretty solid corporate work (best in Chicago, OK in NYC). The premium is almost entirely based on working more than the minimum number of hours at most other firms, so it's not like you're going to get a free lunch.

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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

Boies gives you an option between taking a mechanical bonus based on billed hours or to take a pseudo equity interest in contingency fee trials you work on and get a cut that way which has a higher ceiling.

itbdvorm
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:02 pm

bdubs wrote:Kirkland consistently pays a rather sizable premium to Cravath scale and they have pretty solid corporate work (best in Chicago, OK in NYC). The premium is almost entirely based on working more than the minimum number of hours at most other firms, so it's not like you're going to get a free lunch.


I think there are a few other firms that do this too. Weil, Latham, Gibson?

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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:09 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
bdubs wrote:Kirkland consistently pays a rather sizable premium to Cravath scale and they have pretty solid corporate work (best in Chicago, OK in NYC). The premium is almost entirely based on working more than the minimum number of hours at most other firms, so it's not like you're going to get a free lunch.


I think there are a few other firms that do this too. Weil, Latham, Gibson?


OP here. From what I understand most firms that pay above market bonuses also require long hours, so I'm ok with that (hopefully I can tough it out until the debt is paid off).

As far as Weil, Latham, and Gibson are concerned, how do their bonuses compare with Kirkland's or Cahill's? I've read ATL but if any current 3Ls/practicing attorneys could weigh in, I'd really appreciate it.

Sup Kid
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Sup Kid » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:00 pm

Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

This doesn't seem right, unless Boies routinely pays massive bonuses to almost everyone. To plug in sample numbers for a first year associate who bills $400/hour and bills 2000 hours:

Salary: 174000
Bonus: ((0.3 * 400) * 2000) - 174000 = 66000
Salary + Bonus = $240,000 (i.e., ~41% more than "market")

Also, based on that formula, a first-year associate gets a 6-figure bonus at only 2285 hours...

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Old Gregg
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:53 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

This doesn't seem right, unless Boies routinely pays massive bonuses to almost everyone. To plug in sample numbers for a first year associate who bills $400/hour and bills 2000 hours:

Salary: 174000
Bonus: ((0.3 * 400) * 2000) - 174000 = 66000
Salary + Bonus = $240,000 (i.e., ~41% more than "market")

Also, based on that formula, a first-year associate gets a 6-figure bonus at only 2285 hours...


I think that's about right.

ClerkAdvisor
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:22 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

This doesn't seem right, unless Boies routinely pays massive bonuses to almost everyone. To plug in sample numbers for a first year associate who bills $400/hour and bills 2000 hours:

Salary: 174000
Bonus: ((0.3 * 400) * 2000) - 174000 = 66000
Salary + Bonus = $240,000 (i.e., ~41% more than "market")

Also, based on that formula, a first-year associate gets a 6-figure bonus at only 2285 hours...


Just curious - is it hours billed or hours realized... Hours realized would make more sense.

ClerkAdvisor
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:23 pm

ImNoScar wrote:I thought W&C paid 180 but no bonuses. Is this no longer the case?


That's my understanding - higher salary (across the years), but no bonus other than a clerkship bonus.

brainking
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby brainking » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:27 am

Sup Kid wrote:
Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

This doesn't seem right, unless Boies routinely pays massive bonuses to almost everyone. To plug in sample numbers for a first year associate who bills $400/hour and bills 2000 hours:

Salary: 174000
Bonus: ((0.3 * 400) * 2000) - 174000 = 66000
Salary + Bonus = $240,000 (i.e., ~41% more than "market")

Also, based on that formula, a first-year associate gets a 6-figure bonus at only 2285 hours...


The catch is that the rate used is not the first-year's top rate, but instead a blended rate for all first years that takes into account the variations in rates for clients/type of work.

So the rate used for a first-year is probably more like $320-350.

run26.2
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby run26.2 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

Boies gives you an option between taking a mechanical bonus based on billed hours or to take a pseudo equity interest in contingency fee trials you work on and get a cut that way which has a higher ceiling.

This is really intriguing. Anybody have any stories about how this tends to work or if people generally choose this option? Feel free to PM.

Anonymous User
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
bdubs wrote:Kirkland consistently pays a rather sizable premium to Cravath scale and they have pretty solid corporate work (best in Chicago, OK in NYC). The premium is almost entirely based on working more than the minimum number of hours at most other firms, so it's not like you're going to get a free lunch.


I think there are a few other firms that do this too. Weil, Latham, Gibson?


OP here. From what I understand most firms that pay above market bonuses also require long hours, so I'm ok with that (hopefully I can tough it out until the debt is paid off).

As far as Weil, Latham, and Gibson are concerned, how do their bonuses compare with Kirkland's or Cahill's? I've read ATL but if any current 3Ls/practicing attorneys could weigh in, I'd really appreciate it.


GDC associate here. Gibson gives you a 1.5x bump for going over a first pre-determined number of hours (somewhere around 2200+) and a 2.0x bump for going over a second pre-determined number of hours (somewhere around 2450+). So for a first-year associate using last year's bonus scale, the bonuses would have been:

10,000 - 1950-2200
15,000 - 2200-2450
20,000 - 2450+

Anonymous User
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Re: Corporate Law Firms that pay above-market bonus

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:55 pm

run26.2 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Jsa725 wrote:IIRC, Boies is simply:

Salary: 174k
Bonus: (30% of your billable rate * billed hours) - 174k

Boies gives you an option between taking a mechanical bonus based on billed hours or to take a pseudo equity interest in contingency fee trials you work on and get a cut that way which has a higher ceiling.

This is really intriguing. Anybody have any stories about how this tends to work or if people generally choose this option? Feel free to PM.


One associate, now a partner, once apparently received a million-dollar bonus by taking the contingency option on a contingency case. It's legendary around here.

Plenty of other people have done well with contingency cases, but you have to be selective and consider the longevity of the case -- you only get your bonus if you're still at the firm when the case ends.




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