Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

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Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:26 am

https://abovethelaw.com/2018/03/facing-mounting-pressure-over-shortchanging-attorneys-baker-mckenzie-doubles-down-and-blames-associates/

Apparently we need to bill 2,100-2,200 hours, log 100 pro bono hours, and log 300-400 promotional/business development hours and do “excellent work” just to get market bonus. According to those at top, “Baker is not for everyone, if you just want to do the minimum and receive the highest bonus possible.”


So BM associates need to bill 2600-2700 hours total to be assured of market bonus? My firm has a 2000 hour bonus requirement, but that includes pro bono and business development hours (within limits). Seems crazy to require hundreds of extra hours in addition to 2100-2200 of billables.

Are these the worst bonus requirements in biglaw?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:31 pm

Sounds crazy. Many firms do not even have any billable requirement. Of course, that doesn't mean your hours don't matter. They still do matter. But there is no requirement.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby eastcoast_iub » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:09 pm

This is the biggest advantage of being at a top Vault firm (Vault is not a perfect proxy of course but for the V10-V20 I think it is a good indicator of who the most successful firms are financially). Not having to worry about getting nickle and dimed b/c the firm can't afford bonuses. At my firm as long as you get an average rating you will get a market bonus, even if under 2,000. This may not last forever but you can do this for at least a few years.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are these the worst bonus requirements in biglaw?


This boggles my mind. My not very highly ranked firm is so concerned with getting HYS grads to think we’re a cush place to work and help lost souls though pro bono that several people would have had a heart attack if something like this happened here.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:43 pm

eastcoast_iub wrote:This is the biggest advantage of being at a top Vault firm (Vault is not a perfect proxy of course but for the V10-V20 I think it is a good indicator of who the most successful firms are financially). Not having to worry about getting nickle and dimed b/c the firm can't afford bonuses. At my firm as long as you get an average rating you will get a market bonus, even if under 2,000. This may not last forever but you can do this for at least a few years.


No, you don't look at Vault rankings to gauge how well the firms are doing financially. Do you have any idea how the rankings are made? They ask associates to rank other firms. We have no idea about more than half of the firms in the list, let alone their financial health. If you think the Vault rankings indicate prestige (perception among junior associates), it does to some extent, especially the regional rankings. To gauge financial health, you look at indicators such as profits per partner and revenue per lawyer. Whether the firm is doing well in the field you are interested in is a good indicator too and you check that by looking at Chambers and Partners.

Edit: Dewey Leboeuf went up 10 spots from 47 to 37 in Vault rankings the year before it filed for bankruptcy
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Wild Card » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
eastcoast_iub wrote:This is the biggest advantage of being at a top Vault firm (Vault is not a perfect proxy of course but for the V10-V20 I think it is a good indicator of who the most successful firms are financially). Not having to worry about getting nickle and dimed b/c the firm can't afford bonuses. At my firm as long as you get an average rating you will get a market bonus, even if under 2,000. This may not last forever but you can do this for at least a few years.


No, you don't look at Vault rankings to gauge how well the firms are doing financially. Do you have any idea how the rankings are made? They ask associates to rank other firms. We have no idea about more than half of the firms in the list, let alone their financial health. If you think the Vault rankings indicate prestige (perception among junior associates), it does to some extent, especially the regional rankings. To gauge financial health, you look at indicators such as profits per partner and revenue per lawyer. Whether the firm is doing well in the field you are interested in is a good indicator too and you check that by looking at Chambers and Partners.


Yes, Baker MacKenzie is ranked high above a dozen superior firms.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby eastcoast_iub » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:19 pm

I understand how the Vault rankings work, I just filled them out. I acknowledged that they're not perfect, I'm just saying that for the firms at the very top it is generally a good proxy. A proxy that is a lot quicker to convey than the details of individual firms' financials.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:56 pm

eastcoast_iub wrote:I understand how the Vault rankings work, I just filled them out. I acknowledged that they're not perfect, I'm just saying that for the firms at the very top it is generally a good proxy. A proxy that is a lot quicker to convey than the details of individual firms' financials.


Nobody will ever have to make a decion to choose one firm or the other within a few minutes. Googling is not too hard. Tracking how actual key financials changed over some years is better than looking at Vault that has no connection to financial health. If somebody has some offers to choose from, he or she will certainly have to do some research instead of thinking "firm A is two spots above B in the Vault rankings. So I must choose A! Easy."

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:41 am

Wow, that’s sad.

My regional biglaw has a 2300 all-in hours requirement (billables, biz dev (literally anything you can’t bill), recruiting, and other), and I thought that was bad.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby eastcoast_iub » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
eastcoast_iub wrote:I understand how the Vault rankings work, I just filled them out. I acknowledged that they're not perfect, I'm just saying that for the firms at the very top it is generally a good proxy. A proxy that is a lot quicker to convey than the details of individual firms' financials.


Nobody will ever have to make a decion to choose one firm or the other within a few minutes. Googling is not too hard. Tracking how actual key financials changed over some years is better than looking at Vault that has no connection to financial health. If somebody has some offers to choose from, he or she will certainly have to do some research instead of thinking "firm A is two spots above B in the Vault rankings. So I must choose A! Easy."


Literally no one at OCI is digging through firm financials. If you re-read my original post, I said that for the top tier of Vault forms (1-20 or so), the ranking is a good proxy for financial health. Doesn't mean that one firm being ahead makes it better. I'm just talking about the upper echelon.

My general point remains though -- this is a huge benefit to working at an elite firm. They won't screw around with your bonuses unless you're going to get pushed out.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:34 pm

As a junior/mid level associate I think it would be a lot of work to get 300-400 business development hours. I’ve helped with a lot of pitches etc. but that is 8 or so hours of business development a week every week.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:57 pm

eastcoast_iub wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
eastcoast_iub wrote:I understand how the Vault rankings work, I just filled them out. I acknowledged that they're not perfect, I'm just saying that for the firms at the very top it is generally a good proxy. A proxy that is a lot quicker to convey than the details of individual firms' financials.


Nobody will ever have to make a decion to choose one firm or the other within a few minutes. Googling is not too hard. Tracking how actual key financials changed over some years is better than looking at Vault that has no connection to financial health. If somebody has some offers to choose from, he or she will certainly have to do some research instead of thinking "firm A is two spots above B in the Vault rankings. So I must choose A! Easy."


Literally no one at OCI is digging through firm financials. If you re-read my original post, I said that for the top tier of Vault forms (1-20 or so), the ranking is a good proxy for financial health. Doesn't mean that one firm being ahead makes it better. I'm just talking about the upper echelon.

My general point remains though -- this is a huge benefit to working at an elite firm. They won't screw around with your bonuses unless you're going to get pushed out.


People did dig through various other information about firms other than Vault during my OCI. During my OCI, no one seriously cared about Vault rankings. Some key financials are so easy to get on the internet.

If I understand you correctly, I agree with your general point that by going to a prestigous elite firm you won't have to worry about things like your firm not matching the market bonus. What I am saying is Vault is not informative for that purpose. Hey, Munger Tolles is outside your grouping of prestigious firms. Milbank is a top-notch profitable firm that is always one of the first firms to match but again, it's not highly ranked in Vault. Since you too are working in biglaw, I assume you do know better. I will just end it here. It's up to students to be prudent and not too simple

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby canon » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:08 pm

Generally speaking the v20 is a good proxy for firms not being cheap as hell and pulling this kind of bs
Other point is valid as well re Amlaw rankings

Ultimately, probably best to go to a prestigious firm with low target billable (or none whatsoever) that guarantees market bonus, in a non-NY market.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:23 pm

Biglaw billable targets information:
http://www.chambers-associate.com/law-f ... -and-hours

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:43 pm

Do associates at other firms get credit for bonus for non-billable stuff?

At my v100 we only get credit for billable work and pro-bono (to a certain extent). Everything else you're SOL. Client development gets done on your own time. Are most firms not like this?

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby shock259 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:44 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:As a junior/mid level associate I think it would be a lot of work to get 300-400 business development hours. I’ve helped with a lot of pitches etc. but that is 8 or so hours of business development a week every week.


This is a great point. It's pretty insane to expect junior folks to do 8 hours of BD every week, particularly in addition to the 2200 hours. That said, depending on how they have you account for it, I bet folks will start putting all kinds of time towards it. 4 hours drinking with your friends? Sure, why not call it BD so long as they have jobs.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do associates at other firms get credit for bonus for non-billable stuff?

At my v100 we only get credit for billable work and pro-bono (to a certain extent). Everything else you're SOL. Client development gets done on your own time. Are most firms not like this?


At my v100 the nominal bonus target is 2100 hours "all in," which includes certain nonbillable stuff (pro bono, writing articles, business development, assisting with pitches, etc.), but not others. You also likely won't get a market bonus unless you bill 2000ish billable hours.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:30 pm

I heard that the NY office had a few stealth layoffs of some associates recently

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I heard that the NY office had a few stealth layoffs of some associates recently

yeah theyve laid off a couple people at all their US offices in the past 3 months. spanning a variety of groups.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:00 pm

So that's the end of this story? I keep expecting someone to post explaining that it was all some kind of misunderstanding, or maybe that Baker has since backed down. It seems crazy that they're they would do this and that would be that. They'll basically be the biglaw firm of last resort now, getting the dregs of recruiting and lateral classes -- presumably just people that can't get biglaw (or even midlaw, maybe) anywhere else.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby BeeTeeZ » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:23 am

As a general matter I couldn't care less about vault rankings, but in this case, I am really interested to see how Baker's ranking is impacted by this.

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Re: Baker McKenzie Now Has 2700 Hour Bonus Requirement?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:07 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:So that's the end of this story? I keep expecting someone to post explaining that it was all some kind of misunderstanding, or maybe that Baker has since backed down. It seems crazy that they're they would do this and that would be that. They'll basically be the biglaw firm of last resort now, getting the dregs of recruiting and lateral classes -- presumably just people that can't get biglaw (or even midlaw, maybe) anywhere else.

I don't think they've been competing with market paying firms for a while now. There are plenty of biglawyers shops that don't even pay 180.



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