Year-end bonuses shouldn’t be controversial. Indeed, since most companies are simply duplicating the market price already set, the feeling should be “as expected and happy about it”. But when there is already dissatisfaction in the company, more money is not always enough to smooth that out.
Weil Gotshal today announced year-end bonuses based on the current market price. The bonus scale is as follows (you can read the full memo on the next page) and, as usual in the company, was delivered without an hourly requirement:
In the fall, Weil was one of the biglaw companies that distributed COVID recognition awards. But Weil had a unique impact on these bonuses – although theoretically they were very high, they were associated with high billing needs (compared to other companies that distributed bonuses based on class year). Although these bonuses were offered in addition to the year-end bonus numbers, it caused some consternation among employees. And now that the year-end bonuses are simply at the current market price, it’s clear that lawyers will have to bill many hours to earn the full market compensation. As a tipster found at the company:
Disappointed in Weil. You have always paid market premiums with no hourly requirement. Despite having an exceptional year, they pay below market rates for many lawyers. In order for a Senior Associate to receive a Market Bonus, they must bill more than 2300 hours.
That’s many hours a year, but 2020 seems particularly stressful.
Of course, some people with particularly high hours were (and are) happy to use hours instead of seniority to give out special bonuses. After all, younger employees had to bill far fewer hours in order to match or exceed the market remuneration. Whatever the employees thought of the special bonus system, the year-end bonuses haven’t changed that.
The year-end bonuses will be paid out on January 29, 2021.
As always, we depend on you when it comes to bonus messages from other companies. As soon as your company’s bonus memo is published, please send it to us by email (subject: “[Firm Name] Bonus ”) or write to us (646-820-8477). Please attach the memo if available. You can take a photo of the memo and send it by text or email if you don’t want to forward the original PDF or Word file.
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Kathryn Rubino is Senior Editor at Above the Law and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best so please connect with her. Feel free to email her tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@ Kathryn1).