It’s mid-January, and here on the East Coast, it is C-O-L-D, cold. Coincidentally, Biglaw is still matching the weather with cold, hard cash as bonus season continues and the largest law firms in America reward associates and counsel for all their hard work.
Our latest featured bonus comes from Crowell & Morning, which brought in $514,391,000 in gross revenue in 2020, putting it in 77th place on the Am Law 100. When we last checked in with the firm, it had decided to implement a two-tier compensation system based on billable hours, effective September 1, 2021. Those who billed 2000 or more hours would be compensated on the Davis Polk scale, with cash ranging from $205,000 to $365,000, while those who billed 1900 hours would receive somewhat reduced compensation, ranging from $185,00 to $340,000.
As it turns out, Crowell announced bonuses via email quite some time ago, before Davis Polk’s scale yet again became the prevailing market rate after the firm announced that it would be adding special bonuses on top of the already generous Cravath year-end bonus scale. Perhaps associates were waiting for the firm to change its tune and raise up bonuses to the market standard before reaching out to us but unfortunately, those revisions never came.
One frustrated source — who claims that Crowell & Moring was also undermarket on previous special bonuses — tells us that with respect to year-end bonuses, the firm “[d]id not adjust to the new scale” and there has been “no word at all on adjustments.” Eek. Hopefully associates will be able to hold on for more money but if not… the lateral market is certainly hot, hot, hot enough to put a little pep in their step and bring their bank accounts back to life.
Remember everyone, we depend on your tips to stay on top of important bonus updates, so when your firm matches, please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Matches”). 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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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.