Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

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djbatista
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Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby djbatista » Wed May 20, 2015 10:21 am

Are bonuses based on how many hours you've billed, or is it also seniority/position? I would love it if some of you guys in biglaw could shed light on this for me.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 20, 2015 10:22 am

Moved to correct forum.

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smaug
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby smaug » Wed May 20, 2015 10:23 am

djbatista wrote:Are bonuses based on how many hours you've billed, or is it also seniority/position? I would love it if some of you guys in biglaw could shed light on this for me.

This is impossible to google.

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djbatista
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby djbatista » Wed May 20, 2015 10:25 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Moved to correct forum.


Thanks, sorry about that.

Lawyerrr
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby Lawyerrr » Wed May 20, 2015 6:46 pm

At most big law firms, if you hit your "target" hours, you get the full bonus for your class year. The bonuses are higher for each class year. E.g., right now, in NYC, a first year gets $15,000, and a second year gets $25,000.

At a few firms, your bonus is based on a combination of hours and performance. So if you bill a lot and are really good, your firm will give you more money than the average person in your class.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed May 20, 2015 7:50 pm

some Boomers in NYC sit around and determine what "market" should be. we receive and say "Thanks."
Last edited by ExBiglawAssociate on Wed May 20, 2015 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Desert Fox
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DFTHREAD

Postby Desert Fox » Wed May 20, 2015 7:54 pm

fobstory.jpeg
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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed May 20, 2015 8:03 pm

Thanls

071816
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby 071816 » Wed May 20, 2015 8:12 pm

so most firms would tend to give a bigger bonus to an associate who reaches billable hour minimums while doing mediocre, but passable work relatively slowly than an associate who falls short of the hour minimums while doing efficient, high-quality work?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed May 20, 2015 8:15 pm

chimp wrote:so most firms would tend to give a bigger bonus to an associate who reaches billable hour minimums while doing mediocre, but passable work relatively slowly than an associate who falls short of the hour minimums while doing efficient, high-quality work?


Yes because you charge on a billable hour so the idiot made the firm more money than you.

071816
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby 071816 » Wed May 20, 2015 8:22 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
chimp wrote:so most firms would tend to give a bigger bonus to an associate who reaches billable hour minimums while doing mediocre, but passable work relatively slowly than an associate who falls short of the hour minimums while doing efficient, high-quality work?


Yes because you charge on a billable hour so the idiot made the firm more money than you.

dem perverse incentives

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jbagelboy
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri May 22, 2015 4:52 pm

Broad strokes, bonuses - like salary - are set by market-wide standards based on seniority, i.e., how many years you've been an associate, with class rank adjusted for clerkships or other work outside the firm. So all 1st years will make X, all second years X+10K, ect. Traditionally, firms will copy what Cravath et al did the year before unless a "bonus leader" emerges, and then set compensation at that rate if they can afford to (e.g. the "Davis Polk" scale for 2014). There will be small variation by market.

Some firms will attach an hours requirement to their bonuses, and if you do not meet that yearly requirement, you'll get either no bonus or some smaller bonus. A handful of large firms will structure bonuses according to billed hours (e.g. Quinn Emmanuel), which helps some and hurts others relative to "market." But most firms just pay everyone the same.

hlsperson1111
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sat May 23, 2015 11:46 am

chimp wrote:so most firms would tend to give a bigger bonus to an associate who reaches billable hour minimums while doing mediocre, but passable work relatively slowly than an associate who falls short of the hour minimums while doing efficient, high-quality work?


In my experience, the latter group of associates does much better come bonus season, especially with respect to junior associates. But typically this problem corrects itself over time: associates who do mediocre work get less work and then have trouble hitting their hours, while associates who do high-quality and efficient work are in high demand and get enough work to make their hours.

I work at a firm where bonus compensation is pretty opaque, but comes down to some combination of hours, reviews, whether the firm wants to keep you around for another year, and the firm's financial health. We don't pay lockstep bonuses and bonuses are only loosely tied to NYC market.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat May 23, 2015 2:04 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:
chimp wrote:so most firms would tend to give a bigger bonus to an associate who reaches billable hour minimums while doing mediocre, but passable work relatively slowly than an associate who falls short of the hour minimums while doing efficient, high-quality work?


In my experience, the latter group of associates does much better come bonus season, especially with respect to junior associates. But typically this problem corrects itself over time: associates who do mediocre work get less work and then have trouble hitting their hours, while associates who do high-quality and efficient work are in high demand and get enough work to make their hours.

I work at a firm where bonus compensation is pretty opaque, but comes down to some combination of hours, reviews, whether the firm wants to keep you around for another year, and the firm's financial health. We don't pay lockstep bonuses and bonuses are only loosely tied to NYC market.


Sounds like a pretty shitty firm.

hlsperson1111
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun May 24, 2015 1:33 pm

I'd take my job over my classmates' at "market-paying" NYC firms any day.

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby BigZuck » Sun May 24, 2015 1:39 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:I'd take my job over my classmates' at "market-paying" NYC firms any day.

Jones Day Cleveland?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun May 24, 2015 3:17 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:I'd take my job over my classmates' at "market-paying" NYC firms any day.


Yeah, it sounds wonderful to have too many associates and not enough work, opaque bonuses, and coworkers who do "mediocre" work (i.e., can't be trusted). Is the superiority of your HLS degree (i.e., the feeling of being better than a bunch of dumb associates) the single factor that drives your satisfaction?

hlsperson1111
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun May 24, 2015 3:59 pm

I focus on doing the best job I can do rather than worrying about the people around me or other things outside of my control. I like my job and feel grateful that I like it (because I know a lot of people in biglaw don't like theirs). Thanks for your two cents, though!

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw: How do Bonuses work?

Postby BigZuck » Sun May 24, 2015 5:51 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:I focus on doing the best job I can do rather than worrying about the people around me or other things outside of my control. I like my job and feel grateful that I like it (because I know a lot of people in biglaw don't like theirs). Thanks for your two cents, though!

Jones Day...Columbus?




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