By Nate Raymond
Nov 28 (Reuters) - Two more New York law firms circulated
year-end associate bonus announcements on Wednesday, both
matching the $10,000 to $60,000 rates awarded by rival Cravath,
Swaine & Moore on Monday.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom said they would meet the Cravath bonuses, which
were larger than amounts either firm gave its associates at the
end of 2011.
Skadden Arps last year paid associates $7,500 to $37,500,
while Simpson Thacher paid $7,500 to $42,500. The bonuses for
both years are on top of salaries starting at $160,000.
The two sets of bonuses signaled that high-end New York law
firms quickly are coalescing around the rates announced by
Over the years, Cravath has emerged as a bonus bellwether.
It routinely announces end-of-the-year associate bonuses before
other firms and has helped set the trend for its competitive
Pete Ruegger, the chairman of Simpson Thacher, confirmed in
a brief interview that the firm had told associates to expect
bonuses ranging from $10,000 for first-year associates to
$60,000 for its most senior ones.
Ruegger declined to further discuss the bonuses, which were
first reported by the blog Above the Law.
Later in the day, Skadden distributed its associate bonus
memos, one of which was reviewed by Reuters.
The memos only detailed the amount Skadden was paying the
associates in the same law school graduating class. However, a
source close to the firm confirmed the firm was paying the same
rates as Cravath.
Eric Friedman, Skadden's executive partner, did not respond
to a request for comment.
The bonuses are still much lower than they were
pre-recession in 2007, when all three law firms gave $45,000 to
first-year associates and $110,000 to senior associates in
regular and special bonuses.
Associate bonuses at New York law firms hit their lowest
point in 2009, when they ranged from $7,500 to $30,000.
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