29 Nov 2016

Cravath, Swaine & Moore kicks off associate bonus season with flat offering

After triggering a worldwide wave of associate pay rises earlier this year, Cravath has opted to keep its bonus offering unchanged.

Stuart Monk

The Wall Street heavyweight confirmed on Monday via an internal memo that end-of-year bonuses for associates will remain in the range of $15,00 to $100,000, the same as in 2015. The announcement was no doubt disappointing to some who may have hoped that the firm’s decision to lift basic salaries for associates in June for the first time in almost a decade might have been matched with a similar sweetener for bonuses.

The ripple effect begins

No reason was given by Cravath for keeping bonuses within the preexisting range, though merger and acquisition volumes in the US have been lackluster during the second half of the year. ‘Not raising it from last year is a sign they don’t feel the need to do that t attract and retain the top talent,’ Zeughauser Group legal consultant Kent Zimmermann told The Wall Street Journal. ‘I think Cravath feels it’s comfortably where it needs to be.’ Unsurprisingly, Cravath’s announcement has already stirred a response from other firms. Both Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison have publicly confirmed that they will be matching Cravath’s bonus range for their own associates this year.

Sources: Wall Street Journal; New York Times

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