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December 8, 2011 5:54 PM

S&C Mostly Matches Cravath on Bonuses, But Sees More Green Come Spring

Posted by Julie Triedman

Correction, 12/9/11, 4:50 p.m. EST: The original version of this story incorrectly reported in which year Cravath, Swaine & Moore's most senior associates were hired. The second paragraph of the story has been revised to include the correct information. We regret the error.

Sullivan & Cromwell told its associates Thursday that they will get year-end bonuses equivalent to those they received last year—but can expect another bonus check in the spring.

The firm's 2011 bonus scale matches the one announced by Cravath, Swaine & Moore last week. But, like last year, it includes a $42,500 payment for the associate class of 2003. Cravath's scale tops out at $37,500 for the firm's most senior associates, those from the class of 2004.

The memo sent out by firm chairman Joseph Shenker said bonus checks will be issued on December 23. The memo also said that the firm currently anticipates paying a special supplemental bonus in the spring—a departure from what other firms have said about whether associates could expect such extra payments so far this season.

According to information obtained by The Am Law Daily, the spring bonus level will be based on the firm's overall financial performance and the general activity levels of its associates, as it has in the past. As with the year-end bonuses, the spring payments will not be pegged to individual performance or hours.

Sullivan was the first firm to announce a spring supplemental bonus to senior associates in the fall of 2007. It has paid bonuses in the spring every year since, with the exception of 2010. In late January 2011, for example, the firm announced supplemental bonuses ranging from $2,500 for first-year associates to $20,000 for the members of the most senior classes. But in 2009, during the recession, the supplemental bonuses were much lower.

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