Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

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Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:34 pm

Anon to avoid outting myself to my current firm.

I clerked for a district judge last year. When I joined my current firm, I did not receive a bonus. Idk if this was Covid-related or if they just don't give out clerkship bonuses (it's a BigLaw firm, just so there's no confusion). Given the state of the job market, I didn't have much bargaining power and I didn't quibble over the lack of a bonus.

Now I'm looking at COA clerkships. If I were to land one and then lateral, would I be bonus eligible given the weird circumstances surrounding my first clerkship? I recognize this probably differs firm-to-firm and market-to-market, but I thought I'd at least see if anyone had any educated guesses (though pure speculation is fine, too).

Thanks.

nixy

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Re: Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

Post by nixy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:53 pm

I don't have personal experience with this, so take it for what it's worth, but my understanding is that the bonus is for whatever clerkship you're coming off of when you take the firm job. So if you got a COA clerkship and then went to a new firm, you should be eligible for a COA bonus from the new firm, which shouldn't have anything to do with whether you got a bonus previously. But you won't get an additional bonus for your old clerkship.

(Hoping someone corrects me if I'm misunderstood this.)

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Re: Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:56 pm

The above sounds right to me. A friend of mine clerked, spent just over a year as an associate and did receive a bonus, is clerking again with plans to lateral, and has been told he/she will receive a bonus from the second firm.

I think the second bonus is just for one year. Still, ($50k)(2) > ($70k)(1).

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Re: Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:00 pm

I'm deeply sorry to hear that you were stiffed.

As an off-topic observation, I'm wondering whether I should put in my cover letters that I'd be open to no bonus and no class credit. I think it would be too pathetic, but I also don't think any firm is willing to pay a $50,000 premium for me, especially not now. FML.

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Re: Weird Circumstances and Bonuses

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:00 pm
I'm deeply sorry to hear that you were stiffed.

As an off-topic observation, I'm wondering whether I should put in my cover letters that I'd be open to no bonus and no class credit. I think it would be too pathetic, but I also don't think any firm is willing to pay a $50,000 premium for me, especially not now. FML.
OP here. Not that you asked, but I wouldn’t include that. It is unlikely to move the needle on hiring but is guaranteed to deprive you of any potential bonus/class credit. FWIW I’m in a secondary, non-190k market (think Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake, etc.). The clerkship bonuses here are significantly below the 50k average (not sure if that makes me feel better or worse about getting stiffed).

You’ve still got some time, and the market is improving. Don’t give up hope! I was applying for jobs in the May-July time frame when things were much bleaker and still ended up with an offer.

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