Bloomberg Law
June 3, 2021, 1:00 PM

Lawyers Get $164,000 Bonuses to Keep Working 100 Hours a Week

Meghan Tribe

It was just supposed to be an “appreciation bonus,” not start a wage war.

In September 2020, Cooley LLP, a Palo Alto-based law firm, announced it was handing out $2,500 to $7,500 in one-time payments to associates. The bonuses came as the firm — along with many others in the legal industry — realized it was both flush with cash and facing worker burnout during the pandemic.

While most attorneys at larger firms expect to receive one annual bonus, Cooley’s move was quickly matched by others, including Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. One payout ...

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