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Susman Godfrey Bonuses Reach $170,000 in Tough Year (Corrected)

Dec. 14, 2020, 7:35 PMUpdated: Dec. 15, 2020, 8:54 PM

Susman Godfrey is giving median bonuses to associates of between $80,000 and $170,000, topping much of the Big Law market on bonus rates for 2020.

“Susman Godfrey committed at the start of the pandemic that no employee of the firm would lose their job or a penny of their salary this year, and it kept its commitment,” the firm said in a statement announcing the bonuses.

Many Big Law firms gave out a total of up to $140,000 in bonuses this year, combining traditional end-of-year bonuses of up to $100,000 for the most senior associates with special additional bonuses of up to $40,000 to acknowledge lawyers’ work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Houston-based Susman Godfrey has a history of notable bonuses, though this year’s awards are down from a year ago, when it gave out between $120,000 and $235,000. This “has been a sobering year, with death of our founder Steve Susman and the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the firm’s managing partners, Kalpana Srinivasan and Neal Manne, in a statement.

Steve Susman, a dean of the plaintiff’s bar and a well-known trial lawyer, founded the litigation boutique 40 years ago and went on to win major cases, including a $1.1 billion settlement on behalf of Texas Instruments in a breach-of-contract case against Samsung Electronics in 1996.

He died in Houston in mid-July from complications of Covid-19 while he was recuperating from head injuries that he suffered in a bicycling accident in April.

In August, the firm elected Srinivasan, who is the first firm associate to become managing partner and the first woman, as co-managing partner, joining Manne.

Along with bonuses, the firm also announced that it had promoted all six associates, including four women, in the firm’s 2020 class to partnership. The 130-trial-lawyer firm requires all attorneys joining to complete federal judicial clerkships before they are hired.

(Corrects second-to-last paragraph to note Manne was already a managing partner in August. This article was originally published Dec. 15.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson1@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloombergindustry.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloombergindustry.com