As per usual, the majority of Biglaw is playing “Follow Cravath.” Unfortunately for associates, this year that means no Fall bonuses for them.
Special shout out to the firms that opened their pocketbooks to dish out special appreciation bonuses to their associates. But, well, Biglaw isn’t really known for its boldness. And after perennial market leader Cravath noped out of the bonus game, it opened the door for other firms to do the same.
The latest firm to delay their associates’ bonuses is Skadden. The firm circulated a video message from Executive Partner Eric Friedman revealing the firm’s bonus plan (transcription of the message provided by tipsters):
“I am sure you have all been following the fall special bonus announcements made by some of our peer firms. They have taken a variety of different approaches. The Firm is grateful for the dedication and hard work that you’ve demonstrated during these unprecedented times, and we intend to recognize your efforts in our upcoming year-end bonuses.
Our 2020 bonuses will take into account the special bonuses given by other firms in order to keep pace with top tier compensation. By providing a longer determination window, we hope those whose hours have been more impacted by COVID will have additional time to qualify for bonuses.”
At least the firm seems to be committed to making sure their attorneys get full market compensation, just months later. And that seems to be the consensus from insiders at the firm:
I hope Skadden follows through with the video message, and at least matches Sullivan Cromwell and Davis Polk here in terms of total compensation. Skadden recently became a Vault #2 firm, and I think compensation has to at least follow those firms — if not exceed them.
As always, we depend on you when it comes to bonus news at other firms. As soon as your firm’s bonus memo comes out, please email it to us (subject line: “(Firm Name) Bonus”) or text us (646-820-8477). Please include the memo if available. You can take a photo of the memo and send it via text or email if you don’t want to forward the original PDF or Word file.
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Kathryn Rubino is a 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 with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).