2019 Bonuses

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rokiv

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2019 Bonuses

Postby rokiv » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:01 pm

As interesting as the “Help Me Choose Between X and Y Firms” threads are, with fall approaching I wanted to see if anybody has any predictions/rumors regarding bonuses for this year.

Cravath/Millbank Bonus scale to start at 20k?

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby KM2016 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:55 pm

Wouldn't shock me if the bonus scale crept up a little bit, but I'm guessing it'll probably remain stagnant (again).

Would love to see something like:

1st years: $20k
2nd years: $30k
3rd years: $60k
4th years: $75k
5th years: $90k
6th years: $100k
7th years: $110k
8th years: $110k

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby dabigchina » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:04 pm

given the state of summerbonus, and looming recession, i'd be shocked if bonus goes up.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:07 am

I just got drinks with a Milbank bankruptcy senior recently. He seems plugged-in and isn't inclined to bullshit but also obviously doesn't have any power whatsoever on this.

Per him, Milbank thought the raise to 190k would really increase the quality of their applicants. He doesn't think that happened this cycle, mostly because everyone matched. Milbank also wants to cement itself as a "top" firm, it knows that it doesn't have a name that rings out (to the casual ear) as much as PW, STB, etc. Per him, not only does Milbank rarely get screeners with "top" candidates, but many of those "top" candidates either cancel their callbacks or ultimately go to a more traditionally known top firm.

The solution, he is hearing, is a substantial raise once the recession starts in earnest because 1.) their bankruptcy group will more than keep the firm afloat and 2.) not everyone will be able to match. He thinks Milbank to 205 in 2020 or 2021, because Cadawalder, Shearman, DLA won't be able to match then and it will distinguish Milbank from other shops and therefore place them in the STB/PW/DPW/Skadden tier and get them quality people accordingly.

Intentionally anon because easy to figure out who I spoke to from my post history.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:I just got drinks with a Milbank bankruptcy senior recently. He seems plugged-in and isn't inclined to bullshit but also obviously doesn't have any power whatsoever on this.

Per him, Milbank thought the raise to 190k would really increase the quality of their applicants. He doesn't think that happened this cycle. Milbank also wants to cement itself as a "top" firm, it knows that it doesn't have a name that rings out (to the casual ear) as much as PW, STB, etc. Per him, not only does Milbank rarely get "top" candidates, but many of those "top" candidates either cancel their callbacks or ultimately go to a more traditionally known top firm.

The solution, he is hearing, is a substantial raise once the recession starts in earnest because 1.) their bankruptcy group will more than keep the firm afloat and 2.) not everyone will be able to match. He thinks Milbank to 205 in 2020 or 2021, because Cadawalder, Shearman, DLA won't be able to match then and it will distinguish Milbank from other shops and therefore place them in the STB/PW/DPW/Skadden tier and get them quality people accordingly.

Intentionally anon because easy to figure out who I spoke to from my post history.


I'll admit this is anecdotal but at my T14, I've noticed a huge uptick this year in people going to Milbank (NY specifically). In particular, it's one of the most popular firms for LR members. That has not been the case historically.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got drinks with a Milbank bankruptcy senior recently. He seems plugged-in and isn't inclined to bullshit but also obviously doesn't have any power whatsoever on this.

Per him, Milbank thought the raise to 190k would really increase the quality of their applicants. He doesn't think that happened this cycle. Milbank also wants to cement itself as a "top" firm, it knows that it doesn't have a name that rings out (to the casual ear) as much as PW, STB, etc. Per him, not only does Milbank rarely get "top" candidates, but many of those "top" candidates either cancel their callbacks or ultimately go to a more traditionally known top firm.

The solution, he is hearing, is a substantial raise once the recession starts in earnest because 1.) their bankruptcy group will more than keep the firm afloat and 2.) not everyone will be able to match. He thinks Milbank to 205 in 2020 or 2021, because Cadawalder, Shearman, DLA won't be able to match then and it will distinguish Milbank from other shops and therefore place them in the STB/PW/DPW/Skadden tier and get them quality people accordingly.

Intentionally anon because easy to figure out who I spoke to from my post history.


I'll admit this is anecdotal but at my T14, I've noticed a huge uptick this year in people going to Milbank (NY specifically). In particular, it's one of the most popular firms for LR members. That has not been the case historically.

That's true at my school too.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby soft blue » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:31 am

You guys are anon, tell us where you are / why you think that is / if they're getting lit or transacational people?

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Elston Gunn

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:20 pm

For the record, I support sock puppeting intended to make firms think people were going to Milbank in DROVES following the raises.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just got drinks with a Milbank bankruptcy senior recently. He seems plugged-in and isn't inclined to bullshit but also obviously doesn't have any power whatsoever on this.

Per him, Milbank thought the raise to 190k would really increase the quality of their applicants. He doesn't think that happened this cycle, mostly because everyone matched. Milbank also wants to cement itself as a "top" firm, it knows that it doesn't have a name that rings out (to the casual ear) as much as PW, STB, etc. Per him, not only does Milbank rarely get screeners with "top" candidates, but many of those "top" candidates either cancel their callbacks or ultimately go to a more traditionally known top firm.

The solution, he is hearing, is a substantial raise once the recession starts in earnest because 1.) their bankruptcy group will more than keep the firm afloat and 2.) not everyone will be able to match. He thinks Milbank to 205 in 2020 or 2021, because Cadawalder, Shearman, DLA won't be able to match then and it will distinguish Milbank from other shops and therefore place them in the STB/PW/DPW/Skadden tier and get them quality people accordingly.

Intentionally anon because easy to figure out who I spoke to from my post history.


Edelman’s stated goal at the last state of the firm address is to increase leverage. That’s directly at odds with increasing associate pay. That would shoot up costs drastically. I don’t see it happening and I don’t see Milbank doing it. Yes, the raise was in some part motivated by getting better recruits but it was also motivated because Milbank has always seen *itself* as one of the NY big boys because it’s an old school white shoe firm. But, they knew the market did not perceive them that way.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby soft blue » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:28 pm

Is increasing pay at odds with leverage? I mean, I get it, paying more for labor reduces profitability. But if you want to recruit top candidates (so you can actually delegate work to them) and grow substantially as a firm, to a size you haven't been in a long time, cash could soothe those woes. I mean, unless Milbank is suddenly recruiting top candidates (anons seem to disagree here), they need to do something to make sure their bigger classes aren't full of duds.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just got drinks with a Milbank bankruptcy senior recently. He seems plugged-in and isn't inclined to bullshit but also obviously doesn't have any power whatsoever on this.

Per him, Milbank thought the raise to 190k would really increase the quality of their applicants. He doesn't think that happened this cycle, mostly because everyone matched. Milbank also wants to cement itself as a "top" firm, it knows that it doesn't have a name that rings out (to the casual ear) as much as PW, STB, etc. Per him, not only does Milbank rarely get screeners with "top" candidates, but many of those "top" candidates either cancel their callbacks or ultimately go to a more traditionally known top firm.

The solution, he is hearing, is a substantial raise once the recession starts in earnest because 1.) their bankruptcy group will more than keep the firm afloat and 2.) not everyone will be able to match. He thinks Milbank to 205 in 2020 or 2021, because Cadawalder, Shearman, DLA won't be able to match then and it will distinguish Milbank from other shops and therefore place them in the STB/PW/DPW/Skadden tier and get them quality people accordingly.

Intentionally anon because easy to figure out who I spoke to from my post history.


I'm at Milbank and honestly this sounds like a bunch of bullshit. While it's true Milbank will likely fare better in a recession because of our bankruptcy group (as we did in 2008), I don't think they're going to increase salaries in the middle of a recession. Sure, I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it.

Also, in terms of recruiting, our quality of candidates and yield rate (so far) is markedly better this year, so not sure there's too much stock in his assessment that we don't get interviews with "top" candidates.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:38 pm

At my T10 a lot of top students are going to Milbank, and it was much harder to bid successfully than it had been in the past. Seemed like getting a CB with them was more competitive than even a couple of V10s during OCI.

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rokiv

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby rokiv » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:08 am

Bump for year end, any new insights?

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:02 pm

Curious about how Milbank fared at T14s. At my CCN, per career services in informal conversation, they offered 16 candidates and got one through traditional EIP. They then took some "second-look" candidates (i.e. strikeouts and career services had to do extra work to get them jobs.) Agree that Milbank was remarkably selective viz callbacks from OCI, though.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:20 pm

3/19 accepted Milbank at Columbia's 2018 EIP with no pick-ups between EIP and starting of summer.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:03 pm

My V10 apparently has dozens of junior litigators sitting around not doing anything (we've always had an overhiring problem in litigation) and there are whispers that they'll be diverted to other groups. Probably not raising bonuses over here unless forced to.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Wild Card » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My V10 apparently has dozens of junior litigators sitting around not doing anything (we've always had an overhiring problem in litigation) and there are whispers that they'll be diverted to other groups. Probably not raising bonuses over here unless forced to.


Since you're anon, would you be willing to divulge the V10?

The lit juniors at my V50 are getting crushed, but I heard another V50 has had little to no work for its lit juniors. To narrow things down, both V50s I just mentioned are in Chambers Band 2 - Highly Regarded for General Commercial Litigation (New York).

In addition, I'm aware that Skadden is trying to slim down its junior litigation hiring.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Pizzaburger » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:43 pm

I could see there being a modest bump for mid levels and up

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:24 am

K&E is doing weird things with associate reviews that are going to affect the "merit" component of bonuses. Historically, basically everyone gets at least market (even if they have low hours), and the median person gets ~1.25x market. This year, more people than normal are getting below-class reviews (translating to 0.5x market), and fewer people are getting above-class reviews, which will mean that the only way to get above market will to have high hours. This is a departure from previous years.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:K&E is doing weird things with associate reviews that are going to affect the "merit" component of bonuses. Historically, basically everyone gets at least market (even if they have low hours), and the median person gets ~1.25x market. This year, more people than normal are getting below-class reviews (translating to 0.5x market), and fewer people are getting above-class reviews, which will mean that the only way to get above market will to have high hours. This is a departure from previous years.


Also at KE (midlevel, had my review, was low hours, with class). Can you describe why you think below class reviews are more normal this year?

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:05 pm

KE associate here, not the above quoted poster. IIRC, during the firmwide townhall the new chair said the firm would be slowing down hiring and said they wanted to pull up average associate hours. It's possible that the firm wants to slim down and one way to do it is to tighten up the ratings a bit and give more 3s and 4s instead of 2s and 3s. I know that if I got a 4 in my review I would be calling a recruiter later that day. (for the non-KE people, associate review is 1-5 with 1 being truly outstanding and 5 being you're fired tomorrow).

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby dyemond » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:K&E is doing weird things with associate reviews that are going to affect the "merit" component of bonuses. Historically, basically everyone gets at least market (even if they have low hours), and the median person gets ~1.25x market. This year, more people than normal are getting below-class reviews (translating to 0.5x market), and fewer people are getting above-class reviews, which will mean that the only way to get above market will to have high hours. This is a departure from previous years.


I'm at K&E - it's because of the new firmwide system; you're not compared to everyone in your office, you're compared across offices now.

Do people actually talk to others about their review? Feels like it's more common in the junior/midlevel classes where most people get "with class" unless you're bad and you get below class, in which case if you're sharing with other associates I'd just assume you lie and say you got with class.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:48 pm

I'm the initial poster to whom all three of you are responding. For context, I'm a midlevel in one of the firm's flagship groups and I'm in a non-CH office. I got a 3 and have low (but not crazy low) hours.

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:K&E is doing weird things with associate reviews that are going to affect the "merit" component of bonuses. Historically, basically everyone gets at least market (even if they have low hours), and the median person gets ~1.25x market. This year, more people than normal are getting below-class reviews (translating to 0.5x market), and fewer people are getting above-class reviews, which will mean that the only way to get above market will to have high hours. This is a departure from previous years.


Also at KE (midlevel, had my review, was low hours, with class). Can you describe why you think below class reviews are more normal this year?


Based on conversations with people in years past, including a conversation with my reviewers last year when I asked what to do to distinguish myself in the year ahead, I had understood they expected a material number of people in my class would get a 1 or 2 in their reviews this year. Instead, it felt like they moved the goalposts. In my review this year, I was told that only an extremely small number of people in my class were getting above-class ratings, and that an unusually large number were getting below-class. They specifically said both of these things, I'm not reading between the lines. I was told that next year is the year we can start expecting to get above class ratings if we're on track for partner.

Anonymous User wrote:KE associate here, not the above quoted poster. IIRC, during the firmwide townhall the new chair said the firm would be slowing down hiring and said they wanted to pull up average associate hours. It's possible that the firm wants to slim down and one way to do it is to tighten up the ratings a bit and give more 3s and 4s instead of 2s and 3s. I know that if I got a 4 in my review I would be calling a recruiter later that day. (for the non-KE people, associate review is 1-5 with 1 being truly outstanding and 5 being you're fired tomorrow).


Yeah, I think that's the most reasonable way to interpret it. I feel like I'm reasonably tuned into things and don't see any signs of true economic issues, and instead they're trying to trim the fat ahead of a potential downturn. But what pisses me off is it's going to affect my bonus because that was my only chance for getting above market given my low hours. My hours are low but only because I have a weird practice that often results in me getting fucked with urgent, no-notice weekend/late night work so I have all the downsides of billing a lot without the upsides.

I agree with your assessment; if I ever get a below-class review I'll run, not walk, to the nearest exit and try to lateral to a place that will guarantee a full market bonus.

dyemond wrote: (NB internal quotes omitted)
I'm at K&E - it's because of the new firmwide system; you're not compared to everyone in your office, you're compared across offices now.

Do people actually talk to others about their review? Feels like it's more common in the junior/midlevel classes where most people get "with class" unless you're bad and you get below class, in which case if you're sharing with other associates I'd just assume you lie and say you got with class.


Yeah people talk. You've gotta take things with a grain of salt because of the natural tendency to hide an embarrassing review, eg. last year someone in my group me they got a 1, but everyone hated working with this person and they lateraled a couple months later (to like their fourth firm), so I think they were lying. With that said, I think I have a good idea of who's bluffing and who isn't.

I'm sure they're saying this is because of the firmwide system, but I just don't buy it. Based on what I know from people who got with class ratings, I think they're pushing down people's ratings across the board and trying to make us feel like it's our fault for not distinguishing ourselves enough. There's still an hours component so it's not like everyone is going to get stuck with market, but I think this is worse than last year (especially for the larger-than-normal number of people getting a 4).

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Based on conversations with people in years past, including a conversation with my reviewers last year when I asked what to do to distinguish myself in the year ahead, I had understood they expected a material number of people in my class would get a 1 or 2 in their reviews this year. Instead, it felt like they moved the goalposts. In my review this year, I was told that only an extremely small number of people in my class were getting above-class ratings, and that an unusually large number were getting below-class. They specifically said both of these things, I'm not reading between the lines. I was told that next year is the year we can start expecting to get above class ratings if we're on track for partner.


Guessing you've just completed 3rd or 4th year and are now a 4th or 5th year. They told me the same thing at that stage.

Yeah people talk. You've gotta take things with a grain of salt because of the natural tendency to hide an embarrassing review, eg. last year someone in my group me they got a 1, but everyone hated working with this person and they lateraled a couple months later (to like their fourth firm), so I think they were lying. With that said, I think I have a good idea of who's bluffing and who isn't.


A 1 will go to the actual rockstars in your group - people who regularly work with rainmakers/practice group leaders as 3rd and 4th years. You will know who these people are. I've been here years and never discussed reviews - comp, sure, because most people are around the same number, but reviews are much more personal and less formulaic.

There's still an hours component so it's not like everyone is going to get stuck with market, but I think this is worse than last year (especially for the larger-than-normal number of people getting a 4).


Are these people midlevels? On the bonus, unless your hours are actually low (mine were 2000-2200 and it felt a bit low because of some swinginess in workflow), maybe sub-1900, I wouldn't be concerned. If you're at 1900-2000 you're going to be at 1.25x market.

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Re: 2019 Bonuses

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:03 am

Wild Card wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My V10 apparently has dozens of junior litigators sitting around not doing anything (we've always had an overhiring problem in litigation) and there are whispers that they'll be diverted to other groups. Probably not raising bonuses over here unless forced to.


Since you're anon, would you be willing to divulge the V10?

The lit juniors at my V50 are getting crushed, but I heard another V50 has had little to no work for its lit juniors. To narrow things down, both V50s I just mentioned are in Chambers Band 2 - Highly Regarded for General Commercial Litigation (New York).

In addition, I'm aware that Skadden is trying to slim down its junior litigation hiring.

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