On the heels of Cravath Swaine & Moore’s memo announcement that associate bonuses for 2011 will closely align with those of 2010, firms in New York and around the world are preparing to follow suit. In recent years, Cravath has become the standard by which most firms dole out year-end bonuses—thus the announcement comes as big news for associates stateside and internationally. According to the memo obtained by The American Lawyer, Cravath associates will receive:

  • $7,500 for 1st Year, Class of 2010
  • $10,000 for 2nd Year, Class of 2009
  • $15,000 for 3rd Year, Class of 2008
  • $20,000 for 4th Year, Class of 2007
  • $25,000 for 5th Year, Class of 2006
  • $30,000 for 6th Year, Class of 2005
  • $37,500 for 7th Year, Class of 2004

A recent Julie Triedman article for The AmLaw Daily notes that for junior level associates, the figures have remained static since being significantly scaled back $17,500 to $7,500 in 2009 during the economic downturn. On the other hand, $37,500 for seventh-year associates is a slight increase from last year’s $35,000, which the AmLaw Journal attributes as “a reflection of the slightly larger bonuses given to seventh-year associates at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Sullivan & Cromwell in 2010.”

According to the memo, “no billable hour or similar criteria” will be used to determine eligibility, although receipt of the “full bonus will be dependent upon “suitable performance at that attorney’s experience level,” however “virtually all of (Cravath’s) associates will receive the full bonus.” Additionally, “bonuses for senior attorneys, specialist attorneys, discovery specialist attorneys and foreign associate attorneys will be determined on an individual basis.”

Eligible associates at Cravath will receive the added compensation on December 9.