Another elite Biglaw firm has stepped out to join the COVID-19 bonus wars, and this time, it’s all about the hours. Let’s get this party started.
Over at Weil Gotshal, the more hours you’ve billed, the more money you’ll get. For all firms that came before this announcement, bonuses were simply based on associate class year. We’ll do a quick comparison of the bonus scales. Here’s an excerpt from a memo that was sent by Weil executive partner Barry Wolf (available in full on the next page), explaining why the firm is doing things this way, and what their bonus schedule looks like:
We recognize that, given varying client demand levels, the workloads taken on to meet the increased demand we have faced during this period were not equally shared. To account for these differences, we will be paying the bonus out not by class year but by the schedule set forth below based on annualized hours worked during this calendar year (January 1 – August 31).
Below 1800 hours – $10,000
1800-1999 hours – $20,000
2000-2299 hours – $30,000
2300-2599 hours – $40,000
More than 2600 hours – $50,000
WOW, a $50,000 bonus — that sure sounds nice! Now, let’s take a look at the Davis Polk scale again, so we can see how things measure up:
Class of 2019: $7,500
Class of 2018: $10,000
Class of 2017: $20,000
Class of 2016: $27,500
Class of 2015: $32,500
Class of 2014: $37,000
Class of 2013: $40,000
The most relevant question here seems to be, how many people at Weil will wind up worse off than they would if the firm had broken these bonuses down by class year? It’s incredibly easy to offer a $50K bonus when you know that only a few people will qualify for one. Thus far, we haven’t heard any complaints, so we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.
Perhaps most important of all, Wolf notes in his memo that this fall bonus “will not impact the year-end bonuses that will be paid in January 2021” and that those bonuses will be “at least equal to those paid in January 2020.”
Congratulations to everyone at Weil on their bonuses.
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Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.