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Cravath Matches Special Spring and Fall Associate Bonuses

March 29, 2021, 9:46 PM

Cravath Swaine & Moore, the perennial leader in associate compensation, is stepping into the bonus race, matching the dual awards Davis Polk & Wardwell announced that several firms followed.

The spring and fall bonuses range from $6,000 for those in their first year to $32,000 for the most senior associates, according to a Cravath memo viewed by Bloomberg Law. They will be paid April 30 and Sept. 30.

The firm isn’t applying a billable hour requirement to the bonus, the memo noted. Therefore, “virtually all our associates will receive the full bonuses,” though they must still be working at the firm on each award date to be eligible.

Firms are giving bonuses as they face a mountain of activity, particularly in their corporate practices, and they need associates to stay through the year to help do the work. The bonuses also offer an incentive to new lawyers to join the firm.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Davis Polk & Wardwell kicked off this year’s bonus race, announcing the dual bonuses earlier this month. Over the last two weeks, more than 15 of the nation’s top law firms have matched the scale, which will range from $12,000 up to $64,000, depending on seniority.

On Monday, Weil Gotshal & Manges also announced that it would match the spring and fall bonuses, which will be paid on May 28 and November 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; John Hughes in Washington at