Legal Business Blogs

US bonuses: Simpson and Davis Polk match Cravath rewards of up to $100,000 for associates

Leading Wall Street firms have begun announcing their 2016 year-end associate bonuses with Cravath, Swaine & Moore leading the way again on rewards with other Manhattan firms following suit.

According to Above the Law, Cravath associates were told their year-end bonuses on Monday afternoon (27 November). Newly qualified associates in 2016 and 2015 will receive $15,000.

The bonus scale means 2014 associates will receive $25,000, 2013 will receive $50,000, while associates from 2009 will earn up to $100,000 in bonuses. The scale remains on a par with last years’ US bonuses.

After Cravath announced its new bonus round, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Davis Polk & Wardwell both matched their New York rival.

This summer saw a US pay war launched as leading firms rushed to match the $180,000 on offer for Cravath’s new associates. The firm boosted pay for the first time since 2007 in a move that saw first year associates take home an extra $20,000.

A host of US firms followed suit, including Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Magic Circle firms were also pushed to compete with US rivals on the latest pay scale, as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance both bringing up the salaries for US-based associates, bringing it in line with the $180,000 pay scale.

Last year in the UK, Slaughter and May upped the ante for bonus levels amid fierce competition from US players. Slaughters lifted bonuses between 9% and 16%, allowing high-performing junior lawyers to take home an extra £15,000.