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December 8, 2008 12:02 AM

EXCLUSIVE: Big Bonuses at Boies Schiller

Posted by Susan Beck

We're betting there aren't too many mopey faces today at Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Unlike their friends at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, who have seen year-end bonuses slashed, Boies's lawyers can party like it's 2007.

That's because the firm today will be paying associates bonuses commensurate with last year's largesse. "We haven't changed our bonus system based on the economic situation," says partner Philip Korologos. He declines to specify the range of bonuses, but says several will exceed $100,000. At Cravath and Simpson, in contrast, the most senior associate bonuses top out at $32,500 this year.

Unlike most big firms, the litigation-oriented Boies Schiller does not award fixed bonuses for each class. The firm calculates the extra pay individually for each of its associates, depending on the hours she billed. Korologos notes that under this system some second and third years will get bigger bonuses than the most senior associates at firms like Cravath.

Korologos says it's too soon to say how well financially Boies Schiller will do by the time 2008 ends, but cautiously ventures that results will be "consistent" with last year. In this economy, that might seem fabulous, but it's actually surprising that the firm isn't enjoying a super-banner year. After all, in the last year-and-a-half client American Express Company settled its antitrust cases against Visa, Inc., and Mastercard International, Inc., for  a series of payments that could reach $4.05 billion; David Boies had previously told The American Lawyer that the firm was working for a partial contingency fee. Korologos declined to discuss details of the fee.

We don't expect to see many firms rush to match Boies, especially since Cravath made it safe to be frugal. But there's one firm that we know doesn't like to be beat, especially by Boies Schiller. We eagerly wait to hear the bonus news out of Quinn Emanuel.

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The author is obviously unfamiliar with Quinn Emanuel's M.O.

Here are the things you can count on from this firm:

1) As utterly cheapskate as humanly possible;

2) But a huge, huge inferiority complex for Cravath, so we do anything they do, including bad bonuses;

3) We will hire ANYONE from Harvard.

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