Let the BigLaw Bonus Sales Begin!

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 23, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Did anybody not see that the Macy's Day Parade is just a big commercial?

That Black Friday is just a fake name for another Holiday Sale? That the "12 Days of Christmas" is just a countdown to Year-End Clearances?

Not to be a Grinch or anything, but what about the BigLaw Bonus Days? What exactly are these law firms selling, and does anybody really care?

Bonus Season

It's that time of year when Greedy Associates takes note of the annual bonus throw-down in BigLaw. Cravath Swain has historically drawn first blood, topping the salary scale with bonuses big enough to buy a Porsche.

But there's a new kid on the block. Kaplan Hecker & Fink, a two-year-old law firm, raised its starting salary to $190,000 this summer.

Now the partners have rolled out year-end bonuses up to $30,000 higher than Cravath Swain. In the battle for talented, young associates, those are fighting words.

According to reports, the firm is also matching attorney and staff donations up to $2,500 for nonprofits through the end of the year. So that's the real meaning of Christmas, right?

Giving More

Salary raises, year-end bonuses, and charitable donations aside, it's better to give than receive -- or something like that. And BigLaw associates will be giving year-round -- mostly through billable hours.

Except, of course, if they are former Supreme Court clerks. The going rate for their signing bonus is $400,000.

It could be for future billable hours, but the firms are probably paying for something else.

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