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Elite New York Law Firms Increase Bonuses

11/26/14

Elite New York Law Firms Increase Bonuses


Summary: Three law firms from New York have announced that they are going to increase the year-end bonuses provided to associate attorneys.

Three law firms from New York have announced that they are going to increase the year-end bonuses provided to associate attorneys, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Elite New York Law Firms Increase Bonuses

Some of the bonuses will increase by as much as $40,000. The announcements were made on Friday by the law firms of Simpson Thacher& Bartlett, LLP; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

All three firms said that checks will be cut ranging from $15,000 to $100,000 in December for their associate attorneys based on seniority. Lawyers who have been with the law firms for seven year or more will bring home the largest bonuses.

The bonuses paid by the three law firms ranged from $10,000 to $60,000 in 2013.

"We recognize that you have been working incredibly hard and have all contributed to the Firm's extraordinary success this year," wrote William Dougherty, the chair of Simpson's executive committee, in a memo sent to the firm's staff.

Similar memos were sent to staff members by the other two law firms on Friday.

In recent years, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP would be the first major firm to announce its associate bonuses each year. The announcement would come sometime after Thanksgiving, but the announcement by these three firms moves away from the norm.

Simpson Thacher was the first firm to announce its bonuses for 2014. The firm employs some 850 lawyers that totaled $412 billion in deals to date for 2014.

The firm comes in third behind Cleary Gottlieb and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP on the list of firms based on total deal value.

Industry experts believe that the larger bonuses are happening because of the uptick in mergers and acquisition volume. For the first nine months of 2014, mergers and acquisitions increased by 39 percent across the globe. This would put 2014 on track to be the second largest year on record for M&A.

Consultant Peter Zeughauser said, "For the first time in six years, the legal economy is back on track."

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