Cravath Kicks Off Associate Bonus Season

, The American Lawyer

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore kicked off associate bonus season Monday, announcing extra payments ranging from $10,000 to $60,000 that are identical to the stipends the firm awarded in 2012, according to an internal firm memo obtained by The Am Law Daily, a Law Journal affiliate.

If history is any guide, the next few weeks will bring a flurry of announcements from other Am Law 100 firms, which typically wait to award their bonuses until Cravath has set the standard. Cravath associates learned about their bonuses in a late-afternoon email.

This year's associate bonuses mirror last year's numbers, perhaps a reflection that law firms have been treading water financially in 2013, according to the most recent industry surveys released by Wells Fargo and Citibank. Both banks report that firms are on track to achieve revenue and profit growth in the low single-digits in 2013, while seeing their expenses rise at nearly the same rate.

The Cravath memo, signed by presiding partner C. Allen Parker and managing partners Robert Baron and William Fogg, notes that the firm does not apply any billable hour requirements when determining eligibility for the bonuses and that "virtually all associates" will receive the full amount.

The memo also says that bonuses for senior attorneys, specialist attorneys, discovery specialist attorneys and foreign associate attorneys will be determined on an individual basis and that the payouts will be made on Friday, Dec. 20.

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