Above Market Bonuses

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Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:29 pm

Does anyone have opinions on how common above market bonuses are? I'm at a well-regarded Bay Area firm and my bonus was at market for my class level. I had hours that were likely around the 90th percentile and reviews that placed me near the top of my class. I had thought I would get a slightly above market bonus but received market.

I know in previous years they have given above market bonuses but that they weren't super common. Any ideas on what gives? Maybe just phasing out above market bonuses or saving for the very top billers/more senior associates? How mad should I be here?

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby PorscheFanatic » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:32 pm

What firm? I think 95% of firms don't give above market bonuses to anyone. Did your firm beat market for other associates this year?

The few firms that bonus above market can be found on ATL if you sign up for the bonus season alerts, but Kirkland is the biggest off the top of my head.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:36 pm

This is why the ideal biglaw career is to bill enough to get a bonus and not get fired, but no more.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:19 pm

I'm a fourth-year at a Bay Area V10 and received an above-market bonus (115%) with similar reviews/hours. You should be mad.

Still wasn't worth the hours over minimum requirements.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:12 pm

Not sure what “above market bonus” means, other than if you billing goal is 2,100 hours and you bill 2,300, you receive a bigger bonus (at least in my case). I never thought the extra $$ meant “above market” just that I was compensated more for the extra billing. I am missing something??

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby shock259 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:07 pm

I always thought "above market" meant that you get more than the Cravath/NY bonus for the same hours billed. So, more than $15k for 2000 hours for a first year, more than $25k for 2000 hours for a second year, etc.

I think many/most firms have an "super" bonus for billing above 2300 or 2400 hours. But it's usually an insulting-small amount. I wouldn't consider that an "above market" bonus, though.

Assuming that's all correct, just about none of the big firms go higher than market. My impression is only some lit boutiques do.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:32 pm

Tbh, I don't think an above-market bonus is worth it if you can help it. Most people I know who go after it are people who are already close. I don't know many who are ~2K hours saying "wish I could do another 300-400 hours and a paltry sum extra instead of just enjoying my free time"

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby 1styearlateral » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Still wasn't worth the hours over minimum requirements.

I feel like that's pretty universal for all firms that offer bonuses. If 1800 is the minimum to not get fired but 2000 is the minimum to get a $10k bonus, is it worth billing an extra 200 hours?

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:38 pm

shock259 wrote:I always thought "above market" meant that you get more than the Cravath/NY bonus for the same hours billed. So, more than $15k for 2000 hours for a first year, more than $25k for 2000 hours for a second year, etc.

I think many/most firms have an "super" bonus for billing above 2300 or 2400 hours. But it's usually an insulting-small amount. I wouldn't consider that an "above market" bonus, though.

Assuming that's all correct, just about none of the big firms go higher than market. My impression is only some lit boutiques do.


Cahill does.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby ruski » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:38 pm

if you the math on these superbonuses its like an extra 15-20 bucks an hour, which is sad since they bill you out at 500.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby 2014 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:41 pm

For the BONUSES, "market" is the Cravath scale, which is paid completely and totally irrespective of hours. An "above market bonus" is any bonus where you received a dollar more than someone your class year at Cravath would have gotten.

For FIRMS, whether a firm pays "above market" or not varies wildly depending on many hoops they make you jump through to get your Cravath level bonus and any additional amounts on top of that. I think it's fair to say a firm pays above market if on balance they are giving more associates above market bonuses than they are below, but there are definitely some that invariably pay above (Wachtell and Cahill) while others have gerrymandered their hours requirements (or added a discretionary component that in practice is punitive) so that it looks like above but smells like below (lol)(Quinn i think is a good example).

I now don't know why i typed that but here we are - OP I'd only be mad if others at your firm and office with similar or worse hours and reviews got more than you do.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby PorscheFanatic » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:48 pm

It seems like there is confusion.

Here is market bonuses by class year: $15k, 25, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100, 100.

For example, if you're a 4th year, and get anything above $60k, you were paid above market. You may have had to work extra to get there, but it is still above market.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:01 pm

I work at a firm that does "discretionary" bonuses. I have gotten Cravath all of the last three years (and have billed between 2000-2200 billable hours, and 2100-2500 total hours, each year). Below-market bonuses usually indicate subpar reviews or lowish hours (below 1700-1800), and above-market bonuses are typically reserved for those who bill 2400+.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby tlsmodbot. » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:10 pm

PorscheFanatic wrote:It seems like there is confusion.

Here is market bonuses by class year: $15k, 25, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100, 100.

For example, if you're a 4th year, and get anything above $60k, you were paid above market. You may have had to work extra to get there, but it is still above market.

Talking about bonuses by sopecific dollar amounts is a banable offense, you have been warned

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:28 pm

Anon above who received an above-market bonus.

To clarify, our announcement memo stated that the median bonus received by associates slightly beat Cravath (by approx. 5%). I think, though it's not totally clear, that the increase was paid for by docking bonuses for folks who didn't get their time in. Separately, I received a bonus above the median amount, presumably based on hours billed and reviews.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:41 pm

OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby 5ky » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:38 pm

5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.


OP again. It was in the 80-90th percentile.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby 5ky » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.


OP again. It was in the 80-90th percentile.


Again, not high enough, shouldn't be mad, although I see you've reduced it from 90th percentile to "80-90".

Listen, most folks are going to get glowing reviews. If your firm includes the standard language of "reserve the right to adjust based on exceptional performance," at most places that aren't otherwise common knowledge, you'll probably need 2700+ and be in the top handful of associates number wise.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:56 pm

5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.


OP again. It was in the 80-90th percentile.


Again, not high enough, shouldn't be mad, although I see you've reduced it from 90th percentile to "80-90".

Listen, most folks are going to get glowing reviews. If your firm includes the standard language of "reserve the right to adjust based on exceptional performance," at most places that aren't otherwise common knowledge, you'll probably need 2700+ and be in the top handful of associates number wise.


You know, just for the record, I said "likely around 90th percentile." I don't want to get into an argument about it or anything but suffice to say that 2700+ is extremely rare at my firm. I do have some firm-wide numbers and can tell you that. Notwithstanding the fact that 2700+ is very rare, I can also tell you they have given out a number of above market bonuses in previous years to high billers and well reviewed associates.

Also see above you. You'll see people referring to receiving above market bonuses at less hours than your standards.

So respectfully, I think you may be overreaching a bit.

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5ky

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby 5ky » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:45 pm

Okay cool man, go on being angry at your firm then, since that's definitely what you want to do. They definitely cheaped out on you, 100%

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.


OP again. It was in the 80-90th percentile.


Again, not high enough, shouldn't be mad, although I see you've reduced it from 90th percentile to "80-90".

Listen, most folks are going to get glowing reviews. If your firm includes the standard language of "reserve the right to adjust based on exceptional performance," at most places that aren't otherwise common knowledge, you'll probably need 2700+ and be in the top handful of associates number wise.


You know, just for the record, I said "likely around 90th percentile." I don't want to get into an argument about it or anything but suffice to say that 2700+ is extremely rare at my firm. I do have some firm-wide numbers and can tell you that. Notwithstanding the fact that 2700+ is very rare, I can also tell you they have given out a number of above market bonuses in previous years to high billers and well reviewed associates.

Also see above you. You'll see people referring to receiving above market bonuses at less hours than your standards.

So respectfully, I think you may be overreaching a bit.

Above-market anon here. FWIW, I had more hours above target than you. Don't have percentiles though; impressive that your firm provides you that data

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby cookiejar1 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
5ky wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. To be clear, I got the Cravath scale bonus for going about 350 hours over the bonus eligible hours requirement. By that I mean the schedule Cravath announced, i.e. 15K for first year, 30K for second year, 50K for third year etc. Say I'm a third year, they paid me 50K. I billed about 350 over the cut off. And had top reviews.

I thought it was pretty cheap.


350 isn't that much over the cutoff, sorry to disappoint.


OP again. It was in the 80-90th percentile.


Again, not high enough, shouldn't be mad, although I see you've reduced it from 90th percentile to "80-90".

Listen, most folks are going to get glowing reviews. If your firm includes the standard language of "reserve the right to adjust based on exceptional performance," at most places that aren't otherwise common knowledge, you'll probably need 2700+ and be in the top handful of associates number wise.


You know, just for the record, I said "likely around 90th percentile." I don't want to get into an argument about it or anything but suffice to say that 2700+ is extremely rare at my firm. I do have some firm-wide numbers and can tell you that. Notwithstanding the fact that 2700+ is very rare, I can also tell you they have given out a number of above market bonuses in previous years to high billers and well reviewed associates.

Also see above you. You'll see people referring to receiving above market bonuses at less hours than your standards.

So respectfully, I think you may be overreaching a bit.


I think I might know why you didn’t get a discretionary above market bonus. Respectfully.

Are you below a 3rd year? It’s not hard to get glowing reviews as a junior as long as you have a pulse.

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Re: Above Market Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:59 pm

I think Desmarais usually has bonuses that are close to double market. I don't know about this year though because I didn't see any stories about it. Has anyone heard anything?



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