After a couple weeks of eerie silence in the Biglaw world, we’re seeing some fast and furious action when it comes to bonuses. Despite raising the bar, the market didn’t seem quite convinced that Cravath hit the right note when it released its new, higher annual bonuses. But even though Biglaw offered a collective “that ain’t it, bro,” no one knew what “it” was going to be.
Earlier this morning, Davis Polk offered its answer to the question, matching Cravath’s schedule and raising it to the tune of another round of “special” bonuses. No one wants to raise bonuses so high that it sets an expectation for next year, so structuring the latest premium as a special bonus allows firms to have their new recruit-enticing cake and eat it too. Has DPW found the right balance?
Paul Weiss seems to think so, responding to the DPW news with an announcement roughly an hour later that it would be matching the new scale.
Remember, Paul Weiss already had a pool of money for discretionary top-off bonuses for attorneys — speculated to be a premium to help retain attorneys in white-hot markets. So if you’re an in-demand attorney at Paul Weiss, there’s a whole lot of money coming your way.
Will we see a groundswell of matches today? Will Cravath try to re-raise to seize back its place as the firm that sets the market? It’s going to be a busy week!
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Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.