Bloomberg Law
March 25, 2021, 12:15 AM

Debevoise to Pay Extra Bonuses in ‘Time of Exceptional Demands’

Rebekah Mintzer

Debevoise & Plimpton’s associates and counsel in the U.S. will receive special bonuses in June and September of this year, as Big Law seeks to reward lawyers for their hard work during Covid-19 and to retain valuable talent.

The dual cash payouts will total between $12,000 and $64,000 depending on the attorney’s seniority, according to a firm memo obtained by Bloomberg Law late Wednesday. This is on par with the totals offered by others over the past week, including fellow Wall Street firms Davis Polk & Wardwell, Milbank, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Debevoise’s two additional bonuses in 2021 for associates and counsel will not affect its customary end-of-year bonus compensation.

“After a year of novel and difficult challenges in 2020, this year has continued to be a time of exceptional demands in both our professional and personal lives. Our clients have again been turning to us at an increasing rate and we are continuing to meet their needs at the highest level,” Michael Blair, the firm’s presiding partner, wrote in the memo.

Many Big Law firms have been busier than ever despite the effects of Covid-19 on the global economy and have outperformed expectations from the start of the pandemic for revenue and profits. This has contributed to what one recruiter recently told Bloomberg Law was the busiest environment for associate hiring she’s seen in 15 years.

Extra across-the-board compensation beyond annual bonuses for associates is rare. But these measures gained steam in fall 2020, and Debevoise was among the Big Law firms that paid out an extra $7,500 to $40,000 in bonuses at the time.

The bonus race had quieted in 2021 until last week’s move by Willkie, Farr & Gallagher to pay a spring bonus set off a new wave of associate awards.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.comTo contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at