Sunday, December 2, 2007

Old lawyer for rent, right here.

Okay, you convinced me. I'll take your bonus.

No, really, no problem.

You're welcome.

Lawyers Compete, Except in Bonuses


BONUSES on Wall Street are going to be bad this year, except if you work at Goldman Sachs. Or, oddly enough, if you’re an associate at a white-shoe law firm. (Granted, the scale of banking bonuses is in a rarefied class of its very own, even when compared with law firms, but bear with me).

Cravath, Swaine & Moore announced last month that it was doling out special bonuses to associate lawyers of $10,000 to $50,000. The special bonus is in addition to the regular bonuses of $35,000 to $60,000, depending on seniority. When you add it all up, second-year associates will pocket $225,000 this year, more than John G. Roberts Jr., chief justice of the United States. (He makes $212,000.)

Just days later, Debevoise & Plimpton announced it would match the new bonuses virtually dollar for dollar, as if it had simply copied and pasted the numbers directly from Cravath’s memo. Almost in unison, most other top law firms followed suit.

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