Wall Street’s top firms have announced their bonuses for associates, with many matching the levels of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which became the first US firm to set the benchmark for US associate bonuses this year.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which in a rare move last year kick-started the process by announcing its bonuses ahead of Cravath has this year again matched Cravath’s levels, ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, and will reward its associates on 30 December.
Lawyers who joined Cravath in September 2015 and 2014 will receive a $15,000 bonus on 18 December, while those that joined in 2013 will receive $25,000. Those that joined the 440-lawyer firm in 2012 will take home $50,000 and those from the 2010 class will receive $80,000, while senior associates will continue to receive $100,000 in bonuses.
Other firms to follow suit so far are Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Meanwhile, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom announced it would match Cravath’s bonuses, but also said it was awarding its high-performing senior associates an extra 10% above the $100,000 bonus.
Cravath’s bonuses stayed at their 2014 levels, after the firm increased amounts for certain classes to match Davis Polk & Wardwell’s bonus scheme. Cravath had announced bonus levels in November last year that came in significantly lower than other peer group firms.
Also this week Texas firm Vinson & Elkins (V&E) has increased all of its London-based associate salary levels and boosted its newly qualified salaries to £100,000 – a 25% rise.
Second-year associates will receive an overall pay increase of 22% to £110,000, while third-year wages will grow 20% to £120,000. All of the salary increases are effective 1 January 2016.
The new London associate compensation structure follows V&E’s move, in September this year, to increase salary levels to £45,000 for first-year trainees, and £47,500 for second-year trainees.