2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses Forum

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2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:55 am

Big partner at my V20 today mentioned offhand that the firm is looking to announce “a round or two” of special bonuses to be paid in 2022. Partner said they will look like the two mid-year bonuses paid this year and their purpose is associate retention, so the firm is looking to announce soon - before associates make their usual plans to exit the firm in early 2022.

Has anyone else heard anything? This took me and the associate colleagues I was with by pleasant surprise.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:55 am
Big partner at my V20 today mentioned offhand that the firm is looking to announce “a round or two” of special bonuses to be paid in 2022. Partner said they will look like the two mid-year bonuses paid this year and their purpose is associate retention, so the firm is looking to announce soon - before associates make their usual plans to exit the firm in early 2022.

Has anyone else heard anything? This took me and the associate colleagues I was with by pleasant surprise.
More money is great, but this is a band-aid. It's almost tone-deaf. The culture needs to change, more and more people don't want this life after seeing how nice it is spend time with your family during the pandemic.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:26 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:55 am
Big partner at my V20 today mentioned offhand that the firm is looking to announce “a round or two” of special bonuses to be paid in 2022. Partner said they will look like the two mid-year bonuses paid this year and their purpose is associate retention, so the firm is looking to announce soon - before associates make their usual plans to exit the firm in early 2022.

Has anyone else heard anything? This took me and the associate colleagues I was with by pleasant surprise.
More money is great, but this is a band-aid. It's almost tone-deaf. The culture needs to change, more and more people don't want this life after seeing how nice it is spend time with your family during the pandemic.
Agree that the culture needs to change to fight against the hoards of associates leaving BigLaw, but the reality is that firms know money is an easy, quick fix to retain those who are on the fence about leaving. Those who are genuinely miserable will leave regardless of the money.

For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:26 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:55 am
Big partner at my V20 today mentioned offhand that the firm is looking to announce “a round or two” of special bonuses to be paid in 2022. Partner said they will look like the two mid-year bonuses paid this year and their purpose is associate retention, so the firm is looking to announce soon - before associates make their usual plans to exit the firm in early 2022.

Has anyone else heard anything? This took me and the associate colleagues I was with by pleasant surprise.
More money is great, but this is a band-aid. It's almost tone-deaf. The culture needs to change, more and more people don't want this life after seeing how nice it is spend time with your family during the pandemic.
Agree that the culture needs to change to fight against the hoards of associates leaving BigLaw, but the reality is that firms know money is an easy, quick fix to retain those who are on the fence about leaving. Those who are genuinely miserable will leave regardless of the money.

For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.
I wonder if year end bonuses will go up too... Wouldn't shock me given how cash rich the firms are right now, but I guess it makes more sense to do retention bonuses with the same amount. As long as things are this busy, I guess I would expect retention bonuses to continue in 2022, but once the market cools I suspect they'll go away (i.e. mid-year bonuses aren't a permanent feature of biglaw like the year end bonus is).

One of the things that continues to surprise me is that partners, even quite senior parters, say offhand comments that make it clear they think they're powerless to change anything about the culture, internally or externally. In my corp team we got back back-to-back e-mails saying "we know this current rate of work is unsustainable" and "dig deep this weekend, we know client's deadline is ridiculous and probably impossible, but let's pull out all the stops until they see the light." Sigh.

Edit for anecdote: I was having semi-daily calls with a senior associate on the other side on a deal. We were up late having yet another call about some minor detail or another, getting a little philosophical, and he said "I feel sorry for current midlevels, you've been beasted your entire careers, it looks awful" - he went in-house a week later.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Bdgerald » Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am
For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.
It's not even the unreasonable deadlines, it's the willingness to take on new clients or new projects that the firm doesn't have the staffing capacity to take.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:11 pm

totally agree with poster above. we are currently drowning and have zero backup yet we just took on two new deals on a team that is completely over capacity.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:26 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:55 am
Big partner at my V20 today mentioned offhand that the firm is looking to announce “a round or two” of special bonuses to be paid in 2022. Partner said they will look like the two mid-year bonuses paid this year and their purpose is associate retention, so the firm is looking to announce soon - before associates make their usual plans to exit the firm in early 2022.

Has anyone else heard anything? This took me and the associate colleagues I was with by pleasant surprise.
More money is great, but this is a band-aid. It's almost tone-deaf. The culture needs to change, more and more people don't want this life after seeing how nice it is spend time with your family during the pandemic.
Agree that the culture needs to change to fight against the hoards of associates leaving BigLaw, but the reality is that firms know money is an easy, quick fix to retain those who are on the fence about leaving. Those who are genuinely miserable will leave regardless of the money.

For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.
I wonder if year end bonuses will go up too... Wouldn't shock me given how cash rich the firms are right now, but I guess it makes more sense to do retention bonuses with the same amount. As long as things are this busy, I guess I would expect retention bonuses to continue in 2022, but once the market cools I suspect they'll go away (i.e. mid-year bonuses aren't a permanent feature of biglaw like the year end bonus is).

One of the things that continues to surprise me is that partners, even quite senior parters, say offhand comments that make it clear they think they're powerless to change anything about the culture, internally or externally. In my corp team we got back back-to-back e-mails saying "we know this current rate of work is unsustainable" and "dig deep this weekend, we know client's deadline is ridiculous and probably impossible, but let's pull out all the stops until they see the light." Sigh.

Edit for anecdote: I was having semi-daily calls with a senior associate on the other side on a deal. We were up late having yet another call about some minor detail or another, getting a little philosophical, and he said "I feel sorry for current midlevels, you've been beasted your entire careers, it looks awful" - he went in-house a week later.
I think what you're going to see is firms making an extra effort to reward high billers (read: transactional attorneys) EoY. I don't think your standard litigation associate billing 2,000 hours should expect a huge jump. I suspect the firms' logic is that they've already dramatically increased compensation for someone like that through the combo of the salary scale increase plus the spring/fall bonus and so a stable EoY bonus plus or minus is appropriate. What wouldn't surprise me is if there's an announcement relatively quickly -- Q4 2021 or Q1 2022 -- that additional spring / fall retention bonuses are coming; I think that may become a permanent part of the biglaw comp. structure.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm

Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:07 pm

Honestly, lock step needs to go. Who designed this stupid system where no matter how much you work, how much revenue you generate, how good you are at your job and how much the firm wants to keep you around, the only thing that matters in comp is your class year?

During normal times, the prize was you kept your job and got to keep going. Now, anyone with connected brain cells is not being let go. There’s just no incentives anywhere in the system. Associates don’t give a fuck because they have nothing to lose and nothing to gain.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Agree too. And I disagree "it won't happen in our lifetime". With firms like K&E basically losing everyone and having to recruit deep from the fucking D league (I see office announcements of ppl coming over from Australia, what the fuck) because they can't retain anyone, at some point the work product and process is going to be so bad and fucked up that the model of "yes sir right away sir" is going to bite them in the ass. Or at least I hope so.

The other option is for M&A group to start using more standardized forms, like our mouth-breathing VC counterparts. So much time spent marking up docs that should just be mechanical in nature looking for landmines that other weirdos place in there because it makes them feel like they "won" if they can sneak it in there.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:47 pm

Bdgerald wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am
For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.
It's not even the unreasonable deadlines, it's the willingness to take on new clients or new projects that the firm doesn't have the staffing capacity to take.
So much this. I'm a corporate associate at a firm at the lower end of the AmLaw 100. I'm on track to bill 2900 and drowning in work. I would kill for a weekend off. The practice group leader just sent an email trying to staff a $1 billion deal for a new client. He's so excited we're getting this work now. STOP TAKING NEW WORK YOU FUCKER.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by ExpOriental » Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:47 pm
Bdgerald wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:57 am
For the culture to organically change, firms would have to unite to push back against unreasonable client deadlines. I can't imagine that happening in our lifetime.
It's not even the unreasonable deadlines, it's the willingness to take on new clients or new projects that the firm doesn't have the staffing capacity to take.
So much this. I'm a corporate associate at a firm at the lower end of the AmLaw 100. I'm on track to bill 2900 and drowning in work. I would kill for a weekend off. The practice group leader just sent an email trying to staff a $1 billion deal for a new client. He's so excited we're getting this work now. STOP TAKING NEW WORK YOU FUCKER.
Serious question: what is stopping you from saying no to new work?

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Elvis_Dumervil » Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:50 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Agree too. And I disagree "it won't happen in our lifetime". With firms like K&E basically losing everyone and having to recruit deep from the fucking D league (I see office announcements of ppl coming over from Australia, what the fuck) because they can't retain anyone, at some point the work product and process is going to be so bad and fucked up that the model of "yes sir right away sir" is going to bite them in the ass. Or at least I hope so.

The other option is for M&A group to start using more standardized forms, like our mouth-breathing VC counterparts. So much time spent marking up docs that should just be mechanical in nature looking for landmines that other weirdos place in there because it makes them feel like they "won" if they can sneak it in there.
There has never been a time when associates didn't think they could run firms better than the partners.

The reality is that all associates are, in terms of current cash compensation, underpaid. The reason is that part of the compensation comes in the form of the prospect of getting equity in the future.

What that means is for a given amount of work, an associate with lower odds of making partner, or who just wants to leave for a different track, is effectively paid less.

So when people quit, who quits first? In general, the people who knew their odds of making partner were low. Firms very rarely lose people who were on track to make (equity) partner (though it definitely happens). The people who quit are those who weren't going to make it. But those people eventually needed to leave anyway. You all act like it's somehow bad for a firm when associates quit, but that's literally the model.

Here's another way to think about it. Suppose you know you're going to eventually tell an associate they're not going to make partner and they need to find another job. Wouldn't it make sense to make that person work so much that they quit on their own? Get what you can out of them while you can.

I know it's a dark view of the world, but it fits the data.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Ultramar vistas » Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:33 am

Firms very rarely lose people who were on track to make (equity) partner (though it definitely happens).
Hard disagree, although I guess it depends on what you mean by “track”. Plenty of people quit who had all the potential of making shares but who looked at the partner lifestyle and decided the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:44 am

Elvis_Dumervil wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:42 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:50 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Agree too. And I disagree "it won't happen in our lifetime". With firms like K&E basically losing everyone and having to recruit deep from the fucking D league (I see office announcements of ppl coming over from Australia, what the fuck) because they can't retain anyone, at some point the work product and process is going to be so bad and fucked up that the model of "yes sir right away sir" is going to bite them in the ass. Or at least I hope so.

The other option is for M&A group to start using more standardized forms, like our mouth-breathing VC counterparts. So much time spent marking up docs that should just be mechanical in nature looking for landmines that other weirdos place in there because it makes them feel like they "won" if they can sneak it in there.
There has never been a time when associates didn't think they could run firms better than the partners.

The reality is that all associates are, in terms of current cash compensation, underpaid. The reason is that part of the compensation comes in the form of the prospect of getting equity in the future.

What that means is for a given amount of work, an associate with lower odds of making partner, or who just wants to leave for a different track, is effectively paid less.

So when people quit, who quits first? In general, the people who knew their odds of making partner were low. Firms very rarely lose people who were on track to make (equity) partner (though it definitely happens). The people who quit are those who weren't going to make it. But those people eventually needed to leave anyway. You all act like it's somehow bad for a firm when associates quit, but that's literally the model.

Here's another way to think about it. Suppose you know you're going to eventually tell an associate they're not going to make partner and they need to find another job. Wouldn't it make sense to make that person work so much that they quit on their own? Get what you can out of them while you can.

I know it's a dark view of the world, but it fits the data.
Think you may have been missing the point of the quoted post. Of course attrition is a key part of the model. But the attrition is meant to be more gradual - lose 90% of a given class year by year 7, not by year 2.

Having ppl know how to do things efficiently and correctly is also a key part of the model. If you are having to fill the leaky bucket with rando working remotely in sioux falls S.D., or reach out to ppl in Australia to give them "an incredible opportunity to come work in the U.S." where they don't even have a fucking clue how the US legal system works, that is problematic.

I swear, the day I get forced staffed on a deal with 2 fresh australian mid-levels/juniors is the day I rage quit.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Agreed - current transactional junior and all of us are swamped. I only say no to new work (as in a complete new deal) if I'm above a 50-hour/week pace, which I think is reasonable. Also, as a junior, pretty much every day to day assignment is "asap". I can only be on so many deals at once requiring "asap" responses and tracking of documents, even if my total hours aren't completely crazy. As to garbage quality work, I haven't really had complaints about my work product, but just wanted to note that remote training and integration has been absolute trash.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 12:52 pm

This thread is all over the place, but back to the OP’s topic: knock on wood, but frankly I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of messaging of 2022 special bonuses aimed at retention. Back to office is inevitably going to lead to *major* attrition, and law firms historically throw money at whatever problems crop up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see year-end bonuses remain static with promises/hints of further 2022 mid-year bonuses to come.

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Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Sorry my opinion sounds like an asshole thing to say, and glad your anecdotal experience doesn't match mine. Turns out people at different firms can experience different things.

I know the pace of our 1st and 2nd years, individually and in the aggregate, and they are not "swamped" with work, most are at or even below bonus pace. They turn down work while being at or below pace, they do something I've never seen before which is take many weekends completely out-of-office (like half the weekends) for weddings, trips, or to just be off the grid, they do very poor quality work, they don't respond past about 7 p.m. or often at all on the weekends. This is an office-wide observation, not my own. And it isn't all of them, but definitely a plurality. All it does is push the work up to mid-levels, who, as a commenter in this thread (I think, maybe another) observed, can't do shit to get them to work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382116
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Agreed - current transactional junior and all of us are swamped. I only say no to new work (as in a complete new deal) if I'm above a 50-hour/week pace, which I think is reasonable. Also, as a junior, pretty much every day to day assignment is "asap". I can only be on so many deals at once requiring "asap" responses and tracking of documents, even if my total hours aren't completely crazy. As to garbage quality work, I haven't really had complaints about my work product, but just wanted to note that remote training and integration has been absolute trash.
I see the numbers, "all of you" are not swamped. You might be swamped and you might do great work.

Are people really not able to understand these comments, or is everyone so hyped up to make it about themselves they can't even process?

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Anonymous User
Posts: 382116
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Sorry my opinion sounds like an asshole thing to say, and glad your anecdotal experience doesn't match mine. Turns out people at different firms can experience different things.

I know the pace of our 1st and 2nd years, individually and in the aggregate, and they are not "swamped" with work, most are at or even below bonus pace. They turn down work while being at or below pace, they do something I've never seen before which is take many weekends completely out-of-office (like half the weekends) for weddings, trips, or to just be off the grid, they do very poor quality work, they don't respond past about 7 p.m. or often at all on the weekends. This is an office-wide observation, not my own. And it isn't all of them, but definitely a plurality. All it does is push the work up to mid-levels, who, as a commenter in this thread (I think, maybe another) observed, can't do shit to get them to work.
I think the "bad junior" thing has been a thing for the last couple of years, and interesting that everyone across the board appears to agree.

I think part of it is a product of not "being hungry". Those of us more senior remember at least hearing about lay offs, hearing what it was like trying to find a job 10-12 years ago, and therefore think we have worked like we want to keep our jobs and are more willing to eat a shit sandwhich.

The current crop of juniors probably doesn't even know something like a "recession" is possible given their age and the economic trajectory over the last 12 years. They see themselves as a super valuable commodity (which is true at the moment) and don't see the need to kill themselves because no one is going to get fired right now.

Just my best guess though.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382116
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Sorry my opinion sounds like an asshole thing to say, and glad your anecdotal experience doesn't match mine. Turns out people at different firms can experience different things.

I know the pace of our 1st and 2nd years, individually and in the aggregate, and they are not "swamped" with work, most are at or even below bonus pace. They turn down work while being at or below pace, they do something I've never seen before which is take many weekends completely out-of-office (like half the weekends) for weddings, trips, or to just be off the grid, they do very poor quality work, they don't respond past about 7 p.m. or often at all on the weekends. This is an office-wide observation, not my own. And it isn't all of them, but definitely a plurality. All it does is push the work up to mid-levels, who, as a commenter in this thread (I think, maybe another) observed, can't do shit to get them to work.
I think the "bad junior" thing has been a thing for the last couple of years, and interesting that everyone across the board appears to agree.

I think part of it is a product of not "being hungry". Those of us more senior remember at least hearing about lay offs, hearing what it was like trying to find a job 10-12 years ago, and therefore think we have worked like we want to keep our jobs and are more willing to eat a shit sandwhich.

The current crop of juniors probably doesn't even know something like a "recession" is possible given their age and the economic trajectory over the last 12 years. They see themselves as a super valuable commodity (which is true at the moment) and don't see the need to kill themselves because no one is going to get fired right now.

Just my best guess though.
This is definitely an interesting take and I’m wondering what firms people are seeing this low quality of junior work at.

From everything that I have seen there’s more nuance. Our juniors are better and better coming out of law school but are also more entitled and protective of their time. I think more people are recognizing that the odds are stacked against them making partner more than ever before so don’t feel the need to grind out late hours week in and week out, but the work that they return is also better quality than older classes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382116
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:51 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 pm
Until law firms start offering life-changing amounts of money ($150k+), these bonuses won't solve the retention issue that only seems to be getting worse by my count. Throwing an extra $20k at an associate will never buy their acceptance of working endless weekends and holidays. Years of receiving emails saying "Sorry, I know it's [Friday night/Saturday/Sunday/Christmas Eve] but can you do this ASAP..." will break most people. As others have said, the culture needs to change as a whole.
I co-sign all of this.

Things are definitely getting worse. I blame private equity and biglaw partners. Partners are so desperate to attract and retain PE bastard clients, they'll "throw bodies" at every single deal and say "oh yes sir right away sir - sent from my iPhone" to clients while associates in the trenches get mowed down.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it will be (or that anything really will change). Plenty of folks in my office and firm are leaving regardless of shitty retention bonuses. This job (transactional) used to be fun to me because of the team aspect, the "everyone rolling up their sleeves" aspect and cool deals for reasonable clients (usually, plenty of exceptions). Nothing seems the same now, and I don't blame COVID, I blame greedy partners who have, to me at least, shown their true colors.

I'll also say, juniors are absolute trash now. Not available, garbage work quality, massive sense of entitlement, etc. No idea where the shift is from, I assume it is remote-work + miserable supervisors, but would love anyone's thoughts/disagreements.

Why stay in big law? The only reason I can identify now is "money." The job sucks.
Can you elaborate on the bolded? Frankly this sounds like an asshole thing to say, the juniors I know are completely swamped with work and if they are unavailable it's probably because they literally are not able to take on more work. What sense of entitlement do you see?
Agreed - current transactional junior and all of us are swamped. I only say no to new work (as in a complete new deal) if I'm above a 50-hour/week pace, which I think is reasonable. Also, as a junior, pretty much every day to day assignment is "asap". I can only be on so many deals at once requiring "asap" responses and tracking of documents, even if my total hours aren't completely crazy. As to garbage quality work, I haven't really had complaints about my work product, but just wanted to note that remote training and integration has been absolute trash.
I see the numbers, "all of you" are not swamped. You might be swamped and you might do great work.

Are people really not able to understand these comments, or is everyone so hyped up to make it about themselves they can't even process?
Not trying to make it about myself, just honestly curious about what firms/practice groups you're talking about. I guess other juniors could be lying to me about their workload, but everyone is legitimately online until 10pm or later most days.

Anonymous User
Posts: 382116
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2022 Special (Retention) Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2021 3:07 pm

Let's not derail this topic into a discussion about juniors' work quality and instead keep it towards retention bonuses so we can all get $$$. As a senior associate who will leave after annual bonus this year, I would stay until at least calendar year end 2022 if similar-to-2021 retention bonuses were awarded again in 2022.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


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