Folks sure are worried about the economy, given that we’re in a technical recession right now. But in the wonderful world of Biglaw, the money still seems to be flowing quite freely, and law firm leaders want their associates and counsel to know just how much their hard work is appreciated. You know what that means: special bonus season is upon us.
Special bonuses were all the rage in 2020 (thanks to Cooley and Davis Polk) and 2021 (thanks to Willkie and Davis Polk), and it seems that the latest round of special bonuses may be in the offing. Are you ready for more cold, hard cash?
We’ve received word that Littler — a firm ranked at No. 71 in the most recent Am Law 100, after having brought home $658,578,000 gross revenue in 2021 — kicked off the special bonus party this past Friday. In a video message, the firm announced that associates, counsel, and first-level shareholders would receive special bonuses. There’s one small caveat here, in that only those who were on a 2,100-hour pace at the end of June were eligible to cash out. Attorneys who received these special bonuses averaged a $10,000 payout. Congratulations!
Littler is the first firm we’ve heard of to offer special bonuses this summer. Is the 2022 special bonus battle royal here? Are we about to see another compensation war? If you recall, Cooley started the 2020 special bonus battle by offering associates $2,500 to $7,500 before Davis Polk stepped in to offer amounts ranging from $7,500 to $40,000. Then, in 2021, Willkie was the first to offer up special bonuses, ranging from $7,500 to $40,000, before Davis Polk waltzed in with special bonuses ranging from $12,000 to $64,000.
Is Davis Polk watching right now? Associates certainly hope so.
Remember everyone, we depend on your tips to stay on top of this stuff. So when your firm matches, please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Special Bonuses”). 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.
And if you’d like to sign up for ATL’s Bonus Alerts (which is the alert list we’ll also use for salary announcements), please scroll down and enter your email address in the box below this post. If you previously signed up for the bonus alerts, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll receive an email notification within minutes of each bonus announcement that we publish.
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.