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DLA Piper Latest Firm to Match $115,000 Associate Bonus Scale

Dec. 1, 2021, 8:34 PM

DLA Piper is the latest Big Law firm to announce it’s matching the “Cravath scale” for associate bonuses, offering additional year-end payments ranging up to $150,000 apiece.

The firm is also making it easier for its most productive attorneys to receive even more bonus money. DLA Piper is lowering its hours threshold for additional extra payments that are awarded based on production and hours.

DLA Piper spokeswoman Geneva Youel confirmed the moves, which were first reported by Above the Law.

End-of-year bonus announcements from Cravath Swaine & Moore have set off waves of copycat statements from other firms in recent years. This year is expected to be no different, as a handful of large firms have already matched Cravath.

DLA Piper is the biggest firm so far to say it’s joining the Cravath scale club. In 2020, the firm—the third biggest on the AmLaw 100 list—grossed more than $3.1 billion in revenue. The firm also reported profits per equity partner of $2.1 million, according to data compiled by The American Lawyer.

Cravath said on Nov. 22 it would dole out annual associate bonuses of between $15,000 and $115,000—a 15% rise from last year’s top-end bonuses. Lawyers from the firm’s 2021 class were told to expect $15,000, while senior associates would receive bonuses of as much as $115,000.

Cleary Gottlieb, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, and Boies Schiller Flexner matched the Cravath bonus scale the following day.

Later in November, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson joined in, announcing that its associates in New York, Washington, and London would receive the bonuses. The firm reportedly said bonuses for special counsel and other firm lawyers would be decided on an individual basis.

The latest round of bonuses follow seasonal bonuses and base salary boosts at many large firms this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com