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Wake Up Call: Schulte Roth Bonuses Range Up to $185,000

Dec. 11, 2020, 2:02 PM

In today’s column, Boies Schiller got grins but Arnold & Porter and Sidley Austin got groans from some associates for their year-end bonus memos, reports say; in this year of nationwide protests over police killings of Black men, law firms have seen their diversity efforts become essential to their business; sometimes great lawyers need help to learn how to sell themselves.

  • Leading off, Schulte Roth & Zabel and Boies Schiller Flexner had good bonus news for associates yesterday. Schulte said it will match the two-part Cravath scale, which ranges up to $140,000 for senior associates, depending on seniority. It also said it’s reducing billable-hours requirements for the rewards and will also offer an additional “step-up” bonus of up to $45,000, depending on seniority and hourly targets, legal blog Above the Law reported. (Above the Law)
  • Meanwhile, Boies Schiller’s’ year-end associate bonuses for 2020 will match or exceed the Cravath standard and will even include a $20,000 bonus for incoming associates. (BLAW)
  • Arnold & Porter’s email to associates on year-end bonuses says senior associates could get “up to” $140,000,” but it’s silent on special “Covid” bonuses, which are one component of the Cravath scale. ATL said that since A&P’s awards for senior associates are “individualized,” there’s no way to track what associates will actually get. (Above the Law)
  • Sidley Austin’s bonus memo says it is matching the Cravath scale. But Sidley disappointed associates by becoming the latest firm to append a billable hour requirement to get the special Covid bonus, which ranges up to $40,000 of the total, ATL said. (Above the Law)
  • Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised on Airbnb Inc.’s initial public offering yesterday, which saw the home-rental company’s valuation soar to about $100 billion. (Bloomberg News) (
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed in-house legal departments to mainly focus on resource management and cost optimization in 2020, according to a report. (Corporate Counsel)
  • With multiple viable vaccines on the horizon, Morrison & Foerster’s latest survey of general counsel finds increasing optimism about the pandemic’s impact on their companies, in particular their ability to bring employees back to work. (
  • Reed Smith launched a new workplace app, “SafelyTogether,” aimed at helping companies that are re-opening for business to screen workers, with such functions as remote temperature reporting and contact tracing. It also provides information on Covid-19-related regulatory developments. (
  • Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, learning from the experience of remote work during the pandemic, says it will hire attorneys, regardless of whether they live in a city where the firm has an office, as long as the partner has a book of business of at least around $10 million. (American Lawyer)

Biden Transition, Election Litigation

  • Attorney General William Barr in November secretly had lunch in Chicago at Winston & Strawn, with longtime friend Dan Webb, co-executive chairman of the firm, a report says. (Chicago Sun Times)
  • The husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, DLA Piper partner Douglas Emhoff, said he plans to “sever all ties” with the firm before his wife is inaugurated and will join the faculty of the Georgetown University law school next year. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • For law firms, this year of nationwide protests over police killings of George Floyd and other Black men has seen diversity and inclusion go from something that is “nice to have” to something that would be a strategic risk not to have, a report says. (Financial Times)
  • Norton Rose Fulbright named its U.S. employment and labor leader Shauna Clark as global and U.S. chair, making her the first woman of color to hold either chair position at the firm. (BLAW)
  • Bloomberg Law launched “They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40,” an award recognizing accomplishments of top young lawyers nationwide. (BLAW)
  • A lot of great lawyers are lousy at business development. So some law firms are trying to help them learn some marketing skills. (Law Journal Newsletters)
  • Lawyers representing a professional poker player accused of cheating asked a court to be allowed to withdraw as counsel in his $330 million defamation lawsuit against several of his rivals and others in the poker community. (

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Lowenstein Sandler got international trade and national security partner Laura Fraedrich as senior counsel in Washington. She’s a former partner at Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis and specializes in advising on cross-border movement of goods and international transactions. (
  • Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retail chain, said it hired veteran corporate in-house leader Noni Ellison as its senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary starting Jan. 11., 2021. Ellison, a Big Law veteran, was most recently GC, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary at medical device company Carestream Dental. She’s previously had top in-house roles at Grainger, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and Scripps Networks Interactive. She replaces Ben Parrish, who’s retiring, the company said. (
  • Residential furniture company La-Z-Boy Incorporated announced that its top lawyer, Stephen Krull, plans to retire Aug. 31, 2021. The company said it plans to name a successor in the next few months. (
  • Schlumberger Ltd. brought back a former deputy GC to take its top legal job. (BLAW)
  • Immunome Inc. and ApiJect Systems Corp. have hired new top lawyers as the biopharmaceutical companies work with federal agencies to combat the pandemic. (BLAW)

Promotions, Effective Jan. 1, 2021

  • Sidley Austin promoted 28 lawyers to partner. (
  • Dechert promoted 13 lawyers to partner. (


  • Today’s legal technology market mainly targets law firms, but a wave of legal tech for in-house attorneys and nonlawyers could be coming soon. (Legaltech News)

Legal Education

  • Five jurisdictions that, because of the pandemic, temporarily allowed law school graduates to become lawyers without passing the bar have all announced plans for a remote bar exam in February 2021. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at