EOY Bonuses Forum

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EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2022 10:17 am

When do we think bonuses will be announced? Pre-Thanksgiving or not until December?

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2022 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 10:17 am
When do we think bonuses will be announced? Pre-Thanksgiving or not until December?
First movers for the last few years (correct me if I'm wrong):
November 19, 2018 (CSM)
November 7, 2019 (MillyB)
November 11, 2020 (Baker McK)
November 22, 2021 (CSM)

If we see movement in early November, it will be someone like Baker trying to set the tone for no raises (unlikely that someone like Millbank will come in early for a raise). My bet is CSM will be the first word this year. I seem to recall from somewhere that CSM decides bonuses the partner meeting before Thanksgiving, but I could be wrong on that.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:19 pm

Lifting this from ATL -- last ten years of first bonus announcement dates and who the first mover was:

2021: November 22 (Cravath)
2020: November 11 (Baker McKenzie)
2019: November 7 (Milbank)
2018: November 19 (Cravath)
2017: November 27 (Cravath)
2016: November 28 (Cravath)
2015: December 7 (Cravath)
2014: November 21 (Simpson Thacher)
2013: December 2 (Cravath)
2012: November 26 (Cravath)

The traditional window for the announcement is the few days just before or few days just after Thanksgiving--that's exactly when we got the announcement last year. That said, given all the economic uncertainty I feel like this could be a 2013/2015 situation where we don't get an announcement until the first week of December, with firms waiting as long as possible to decide where they'll land.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2022 8:24 pm

Will it be higher?

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 8:24 pm
Will it be higher?
Not likely.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 05, 2022 10:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:23 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 8:24 pm
Will it be higher?
Not likely.
I don’t think we’re going to get a major change in the scale. I do wonder if the scale is going to be Cravath or Cravath + DPW. E.g., I could see DPW releasing a scale that bakes in its special bonus last year. Or Milbank coming out and matching Cravath but then adding the DPW kicker from last year in “recognition of your continued hard work under extraordinary economic conditions” or something like that.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by LittleRedCorvette » Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 10:43 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:23 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 8:24 pm
Will it be higher?
Not likely.
I don’t think we’re going to get a major change in the scale. I do wonder if the scale is going to be Cravath or Cravath + DPW. E.g., I could see DPW releasing a scale that bakes in its special bonus last year. Or Milbank coming out and matching Cravath but then adding the DPW kicker from last year in “recognition of your continued hard work under extraordinary economic conditions” or something like that.
I find it extremely unlikely they add in any kickers or special bonuses from last year. It is going to be whatever the ordinary end-of-year bonuses are.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:02 pm

LittleRedCorvette wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:06 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 10:43 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 1:23 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 8:24 pm
Will it be higher?
Not likely.
I don’t think we’re going to get a major change in the scale. I do wonder if the scale is going to be Cravath or Cravath + DPW. E.g., I could see DPW releasing a scale that bakes in its special bonus last year. Or Milbank coming out and matching Cravath but then adding the DPW kicker from last year in “recognition of your continued hard work under extraordinary economic conditions” or something like that.
I find it extremely unlikely they add in any kickers or special bonuses from last year. It is going to be whatever the ordinary end-of-year bonuses are.
Yeah don't get me wrong, law firm partnerships have never missed an opportunity to hold down compensation even in yet another year where profits are (mildly, at my V10) up; but I do feel like Milbank and DPW in particular have become real wild cards in terms of associate compensation--you get the sense that they enjoy being spoilers to Cravath and both have benefited from their aggressive comp. moves (Milbank especially), so if nothing else it makes the end of year bonus season more interesting to see if they'll rock the boat.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:37 pm

Put this on another thread earlier, but here's my prediction. Cravath or other law firm puts out bonus that is just the base level of DPW. Then DPW or Milbank raise the base level bonus so that it is somewhere above the base bonus but below the base + special bonus. Then this is marketed to us as a "raise" even though it is actually a decrease. It seems fairly obvious to me that DPW + crew put that special bonus number there with the sole purpose of being able to take it away next year—if it wasn't they would have just raised the base bonus accordingly.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:37 pm
Put this on another thread earlier, but here's my prediction. Cravath or other law firm puts out bonus that is just the base level of DPW. Then DPW or Milbank raise the base level bonus so that it is somewhere above the base bonus but below the base + special bonus. Then this is marketed to us as a "raise" even though it is actually a decrease. It seems fairly obvious to me that DPW + crew put that special bonus number there with the sole purpose of being able to take it away next year—if it wasn't they would have just raised the base bonus accordingly.
I could see this. Cravath announces the same scale as last year, then Milbank or DPW comes in just to be assholes and tops it by like 5-15k. Industry settles around this Cravath+ scale which is still (generally, for most class years) less than all-in EoY last year but allows firms to say they're recognizing hard work / inflation / profit growth. Scenario rings true and would leave people feeling sort of good sort of meh which has a classic biglaw feel to it hahaha.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by malibustacy » Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm

We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by swiftyredalbum » Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:50 pm

Recession is not a matter of opinion.
Reduce expectations.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm

malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm
malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.
My V50 is super busy too. Sure, deal volume is down, but rates are up so the overall revenue is still up. Management showed us the yoy comparable of hours(down), rates(up), and revenue(up) during one of the recent townhalls. It’s going to look like a “normal” year (e.g., 2019).

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 06, 2022 9:18 pm

+1. V50, we’re making more money this year and are more profitable.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm
malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.
My V50 is super busy too. Sure, deal volume is down, but rates are up so the overall revenue is still up. Management showed us the yoy comparable of hours(down), rates(up), and revenue(up) during one of the recent townhalls. It’s going to look like a “normal” year (e.g., 2019).
Sorry, what part of revenue going up mandates raising bonuses? Prior to COVID, revenue increased all the time while bonuses stagnated.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:29 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm
malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.
My V50 is super busy too. Sure, deal volume is down, but rates are up so the overall revenue is still up. Management showed us the yoy comparable of hours(down), rates(up), and revenue(up) during one of the recent townhalls. It’s going to look like a “normal” year (e.g., 2019).
Sorry, what part of revenue going up mandates raising bonuses? Prior to COVID, revenue increased all the time while bonuses stagnated.
Nobody said that increased revenue will “mandate” raised bonuses. No one knows the outcome other than a few decision makers. We are suggesting a cursory raise is a plausible scenario. It’s a response to an earlier post which said words to the effect of “read the room, there’s going to be no bonus increases” (i.e., the only poster here making a categorical statement).

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Anonymous User
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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:29 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm
malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.
My V50 is super busy too. Sure, deal volume is down, but rates are up so the overall revenue is still up. Management showed us the yoy comparable of hours(down), rates(up), and revenue(up) during one of the recent townhalls. It’s going to look like a “normal” year (e.g., 2019).
Sorry, what part of revenue going up mandates raising bonuses? Prior to COVID, revenue increased all the time while bonuses stagnated.
Welcome to the new world baby (maybe!). COVID changed a lot of things for various reasons. The connection between firm financial performance and associate compensation feels tighter now than it’s been for a long time. It was that way before ITE too (i.e., most of the 2000s) and it took a global financial crisis to give firms leverage to reorient and do what you allude to (spend roughly a decade growing profits while screwing non-equity attorneys with stagnant compensation). Hopefully we don’t go back to that. Even a pro forma raise, like we’ve been discussing, would be a good sign in that regard.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:56 am

As a separate point, paying the same bonus this year is effectively a pay decrease given inflation. Where is the tipping point that associates would actually be disgruntled enough to leave? Would enough people hang around if firms paid a 2010 style bonus to “protect our financial futures going into a potential recession”?

If you haven’t been following, A&O has refused to pay market alongside the other magic circle firms in London. Lots of whining but the firm doesn’t sound like it’s experiencing too much trouble. It’s an interesting experiment.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:08 am

malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
This seems like the most reasonable response to me. Is everyone who's saying there will be raises new enough that they've only experienced all the Covid extra bonuses, and therefore think that's normal?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:11 am

Bonuses are about paying what they feel they need to going forward, not as a retrospective for what you earned in the prior year. 2008 and 2020 are good examples of this.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:50 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:29 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:04 pm
malibustacy wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 2:39 pm
We're not getting a bonus raise. Read the room.
What "room?" I'm at a V10 and our profits are up YoY. Bonuses are set in the industry from the top and the rest of the V50 will follow (more or less) and just accept it in order to stay market. How the bonus season plays out depends on the influence of a very small number of firms in the scheme of things.
My V50 is super busy too. Sure, deal volume is down, but rates are up so the overall revenue is still up. Management showed us the yoy comparable of hours(down), rates(up), and revenue(up) during one of the recent townhalls. It’s going to look like a “normal” year (e.g., 2019).
Sorry, what part of revenue going up mandates raising bonuses? Prior to COVID, revenue increased all the time while bonuses stagnated.
Welcome to the new world baby (maybe!). COVID changed a lot of things for various reasons. The connection between firm financial performance and associate compensation feels tighter now than it’s been for a long time. It was that way before ITE too (i.e., most of the 2000s) and it took a global financial crisis to give firms leverage to reorient and do what you allude to (spend roughly a decade growing profits while screwing non-equity attorneys with stagnant compensation). Hopefully we don’t go back to that. Even a pro forma raise, like we’ve been discussing, would be a good sign in that regard.
But things are nothing like the "new world" we experienced over the last couple years. No rage quitting. No crazy lateral market. No outsized profits. No insano hours across the board for corporate groups. There's a looming recession. Deal volume is down. And even if profits are up, I haven't heard anything earth-shattering that would suggest more of the same.

Firms reorient in a way that makes sense for the bottom line. That's why bonuses changed post-recession, that's why firms threw around cash during COVID, and that's why firms are going to do the bare minimum at EOY. 2008 and what followed made PPP even more important (e.g., for retaining partners), so it's not like firms are going to go back to pre-08 bonus structures just because we want them to.

Unless I hear some credible intel from Milbank/DPW that the partners there think otherwise, it's pointless to engage in wishful thinking. I'm always shocked by how much mental gymnastics people will jump through to make it sound like raises make sense from the perspective of moneygrubbing partners.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by VentureMBA » Tue Nov 08, 2022 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:56 am
As a separate point, paying the same bonus this year is effectively a pay decrease given inflation. Where is the tipping point that associates would actually be disgruntled enough to leave? Would enough people hang around if firms paid a 2010 style bonus to “protect our financial futures going into a potential recession”?

If you haven’t been following, A&O has refused to pay market alongside the other magic circle firms in London. Lots of whining but the firm doesn’t sound like it’s experiencing too much trouble. It’s an interesting experiment.
When you see how many in house lawyers get laid off in the next 6-12 months, you'll feel grateful to have a BigLaw job paying you mid six figures.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by nealric » Tue Nov 08, 2022 1:15 pm

VentureMBA wrote:
Tue Nov 08, 2022 12:58 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:56 am
As a separate point, paying the same bonus this year is effectively a pay decrease given inflation. Where is the tipping point that associates would actually be disgruntled enough to leave? Would enough people hang around if firms paid a 2010 style bonus to “protect our financial futures going into a potential recession”?

If you haven’t been following, A&O has refused to pay market alongside the other magic circle firms in London. Lots of whining but the firm doesn’t sound like it’s experiencing too much trouble. It’s an interesting experiment.
When you see how many in house lawyers get laid off in the next 6-12 months, you'll feel grateful to have a BigLaw job paying you mid six figures.
In-house is going to be very industry specific. Big tech is already doing layoffs. Big oil is still in hiring mode.

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Re: EOY Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 08, 2022 1:36 pm

New asso at a bonus-below-market firm, just wondering if anyone knows generally how much the difference would be (for stub/junior levels) or is it a firm-by-firm thing (found no internal info anywhere) ... Trying to figure out whether it is worth it to try to hit that bonus billable req. :?

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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