Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

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Should I be pissed about my weak bonus?

Leaving the firm PLUS a slow year? Be glad you’re getting a bonus at all.
44
57%
You hit your billables, you should be pissed.
33
43%
 
Total votes: 77

Anonymous User
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Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:11 pm

Mid level associate at a market paying v100 firm with blackbox bonuses but I’ve never gotten less than market before this year.

Lateralling to in-house in January. Gave notice in mid November (6 weeks). I’m fairly integral in my practice group so I wanted to give more notice.

My bonus this year was 50% of market. I partly feel like I’m being penalized for leaving but my practice group was also incredibly slow this year. Apparently slowest year since 2002. However, I personally hit my billable requirements (barely), albeit I know some the time was heavily discounted because we were offering clients big discounts because of how slow we were.

Should I be pissed about my bonus?

jd20132013

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:25 pm

Yea but what can you do

mvp99

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby mvp99 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:45 pm

Just remember this bonus when youre in a position to hire outside counsel

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:00 am

jd20132013 wrote:Yea but what can you do


i don't plan to do anything. Really just looking for perspective.

mvp99 wrote:Just remember this bonus when youre in a position to hire outside counsel


noted.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:14 am

Midlevel bonuses are designed for retention, not compensation for past work. So as far as the firm is concerned, its generous for them to give you anything once you’ve given notice.

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:31 am

jbagelboy wrote:Midlevel bonuses are designed for retention, not compensation for past work. So as far as the firm is concerned, its generous for them to give you anything once you’ve given notice.


interesting analysis. fair.

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:56 pm

Any other midlevels in your practice group you can compare hours/bonus with?

FWIW, I was in a similar boat in terms of length of notice. I was leaving for a client and the partners in my office went out of therir way to be extra nice on my way out the door. Couldn’t imagine they would have jerked me around on the bonus.

barkschool

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby barkschool » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:04 pm

Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv

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84651846190

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby 84651846190 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:10 pm

barkschool wrote:Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Nebby » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:55 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
barkschool wrote:Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:02 pm

Nebby wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
barkschool wrote:Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv


I wanted to give a lot of notice.

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby barkschool » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
barkschool wrote:Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv


I wanted to give a lot of notice.


Why? (Sorry to sound direct or to keep pushing, but you must have known there are several different ways a firm could react to that news)

sparty99

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Mid level associate at a market paying v100 firm with blackbox bonuses but I’ve never gotten less than market before this year.

Lateralling to in-house in January. Gave notice in mid November (6 weeks). I’m fairly integral in my practice group so I wanted to give more notice.

My bonus this year was 50% of market. I partly feel like I’m being penalized for leaving but my practice group was also incredibly slow this year. Apparently slowest year since 2002. However, I personally hit my billable requirements (barely), albeit I know some the time was heavily discounted because we were offering clients big discounts because of how slow we were.

Should I be pissed about my bonus?


This is your own damn fault. Shouldn't have given noticed. Be pissed at yourself. Hope you negotiated that bonus into your new job.

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby lolwat » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:37 pm

barkschool wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
barkschool wrote:Why’d you give notice before getting your bonusv


I wanted to give a lot of notice.


Why? (Sorry to sound direct or to keep pushing, but you must have known there are several different ways a firm could react to that news)


I get why TLS is slamming OP for giving more notice than just 2 weeks, and especially for doing so before bonus time. But OP already basically explained it in, well, the OP: "I'm fairly integral in my practice group so I wanted to give more notice." Personally, I think that's a reasonable route to take, but definitely not in the "look out for yourself" sense. But I'm also really hoping that's not the reason OP got a shitty bonus. Giving notice early almost never benefits the person leaving, only the firm and the other people in OP's practice group / on cases the OP is assigned to / etc.

I'd imagine it's also possible that the OP hit their billable requirements but the write-offs/discounted time took it under the minimum. But who knows.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:35 pm

OP, I get why you gave (way) more notice than needed, but in hindsight the question would be “Is professional courtesy/good relationships worth tens of thousands of dollars out of my own pocket?”

For most people, the answer is obviously “no”. But I wouldn’t be shocked if there were a solid amount of attorneys who would say you did the right thing.

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:41 pm

Really I think the reason OP should not have given such lengthy notice is the lack of reciprocity. OP behaved in a courteous manner to his coworkers and firm and was rewarded with half a bonus. Under the circumstances, if the partners you work for are going to permit you to be shafted, then giving the customary two weeks notice seems perfectly appropriate.

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cdotson2

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby cdotson2 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:50 pm

At lockstep firms where you hit hours, are bonuses actually discretionary? isn't it basically the same as salary, and a firm can't just decide not to pay you all of your salary for the time you worked because you gave notice. I know OP said that they have black box bonuses, but are black box bonuses just whatever the firm feels like, or does HR have a checklist and when you hit certain markers it equals certain dollar amounts? It seems like if this was retaliation for leaving (though this isn't clear) there should be a remedy.

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rpupkin

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:55 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Midlevel bonuses are designed for retention, not compensation for past work. So as far as the firm is concerned, its generous for them to give you anything once you’ve given notice.

Yep.

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rpupkin

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:56 pm

cdotson2 wrote:At lockstep firms where you hit hours, are bonuses actually discretionary?

Uh...yes? In what sense would bonuses not be discretionary?

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cdotson2

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby cdotson2 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:20 pm

They are more like an implied contractual term with a specified performance clause. Once you hit hours, the clause activates and you get that amount, everyone who hits hours gets the same amount. It's called a bonus, but in practice it seems much more like salary at lock step firms. They don't deceiver between individuals who have hit hours for bonuses. Cravath has paid the same bonus scale for several years now (and most of the top firms all pay the same scale), if they decided to pick one third year associate who hit hours and otherwise performed to standards, but who gave notice before bonuses were announced, and give him/her less than 50K, how is that different than taking the money out of the base pay and giving them a full bonus? all other third years at cravath made the same amount when you add their "salary" to their "bonus". In that sense it is does not seem discretionary.

runinthefront

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby runinthefront » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:55 pm

cdotson2 wrote:They are more like an implied contractual term with a specified performance clause. Once you hit hours, the clause activates and you get that amount, everyone who hits hours gets the same amount. It's called a bonus, but in practice it seems much more like salary at lock step firms. They don't deceiver between individuals who have hit hours for bonuses. Cravath has paid the same bonus scale for several years now (and most of the top firms all pay the same scale), if they decided to pick one third year associate who hit hours and otherwise performed to standards, but who gave notice before bonuses were announced, and give him/her less than 50K, how is that different than taking the money out of the base pay and giving them a full bonus? all other third years at cravath made the same amount when you add their "salary" to their "bonus". In that sense it is does not seem discretionary.

Are you in law school?
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:12 pm

cdotson2 wrote:They are more like an implied contractual term with a specified performance clause. Once you hit hours, the clause activates and you get that amount, everyone who hits hours gets the same amount. It's called a bonus, but in practice it seems much more like salary at lock step firms. They don't deceiver between individuals who have hit hours for bonuses. Cravath has paid the same bonus scale for several years now (and most of the top firms all pay the same scale), if they decided to pick one third year associate who hit hours and otherwise performed to standards, but who gave notice before bonuses were announced, and give him/her less than 50K, how is that different than taking the money out of the base pay and giving them a full bonus? all other third years at cravath made the same amount when you add their "salary" to their "bonus". In that sense it is does not seem discretionary.


Are you in law school?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:42 pm

:lol: I did check. He is.

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Br3v

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby Br3v » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:44 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote::lol: I did check. He is.

:lol:

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Re: Poll: Should I be pissed about my bonus?

Postby lolwat » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:22 pm

tyroneslothrop1 wrote:Really I think the reason OP should not have given such lengthy notice is the lack of reciprocity. OP behaved in a courteous manner to his coworkers and firm and was rewarded with half a bonus. Under the circumstances, if the partners you work for are going to permit you to be shafted, then giving the customary two weeks notice seems perfectly appropriate.


That's kind of the problem... in hindsight he shouldn't have given such lengthy notice, and I hope no one ever does again at that firm if that's the reason he got a 50% bonus. But at the time he did it, it was a reasonable move.



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