Allen & Overy is the most recent law firm to announce it will match standard-bearer Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s associate annual bonus scale, paying first-year associates $15,000 and eighth and ninth year associates $100,000.
The bonus scale applies to associates in the firm’s New York, Washington, and Sao Paulo offices as well as “certain associates outside the U.S.,” Dave Lewis, managing partner for Allen & Overy’s New York office, told Bloomberg Law in an email.
The bonuses are scheduled to be paid by January 15, 2019 and will be prorated for part-time schedules, unpaid leaves of absence and those that started in 2018, according to the firm.
For many years, Cravath has set the standard for bonuses, and it announced Nov. 19 what it would pay its associates. This year Skadden, Proskauer Rose, Cleary Gottlieb and other major firms have matched Cravath. And a few others, including boutiques Kaplan Hecker & Fink and Wilkinson, Walsh +Eskovitz have exceeded Cravath’s bonus rates.
This year’s bonuses for Allen & Overy begin at $15,000 for first-year associates, a rate that’s been holding steady among big law firms for the past several years.
The starting bonus of $15,000 is not the historical high-water mark for Big Law associates. This round of bonuses mirror those paid in 2002. Before that, some first years at big New York law firms were paid up to $40,000. The Great Recession put an end to such large bonuses, with Cravath paying first-year associates $7,500 in 2009 compared with $35,000 in 2007.
Allen & Overy is an international law firm based in London that employs 5,500 people in 44 offices in 31 countries.