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Paul Weiss Special Bonuses Imply More Industry Awards to Come

Oct. 28, 2021, 5:35 PM

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison will dole out special bonuses to certain associates, indicating that such awards are likely to again sweep the industry in a second straight banner year for Big Law firms.

The special bonuses to be paid out in mid-November are in addition to regular bonuses, Chairman Brad Karp said in a Tuesday staff memo. Another round of bonuses in 2022 will based on lawyers’ performance in the second half of this year, the memo said.

The payments “provide an additional reward for those associates and counsel who exhibited exceptional commitment,” Karp wrote.

Bonuses soared to new heights last year after Big Law firms realized they were flush with cash and their junior lawyers were struggling with an unexpected surge in corporate work. Many of those bonuses simply depended on a lawyer being in “good standing” at their firms.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Davis Polk & Wardwell kicked off the new bonus race in March, offering up to $64,000 per attorney. Elite law firms have also raised salaries amid stiff competition for lawyers.

Paul Weiss’ typical seniority-based bonuses will be paid out across the board regardless of how many hours an associate worked, Karp said in the memo.

A firm spokeswoman confirmed the memo’s authenticity. Above The Law first reported on the memo.

The memo did not specify how much the firm would pay in special bonuses but noted its traditional bonuses would “match or surpass” its competitors.

Karp told Bloomberg Law last month his firm was poised to join the handful of elite firms whose partners earn $6 million on average.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at;
John Hughes in Washington at