There are a set of expectation built into the employer/employee relationship. And when a Biglaw firm has historically given associates market rates for bonuses without an hours requirement, they pretty much think they’ll be getting the same money as everyone in the industry and not unceremoniously enrolled in the jelly of the month club.
But here at Above the Law, we are hearing rumblings that a major Biglaw firm changed the requirements for bonuses at the last minute — like only a few days before they were due to be dispersed. And that left a lot of associates with less money than expected.
From an angry associate at the firm:
[The firm] never had an hours minimum for bonuses but called associates 2 days before they were supposed to be paid out and told them they were getting anywhere from 0% – 100% of what they were expecting. They said it was a very recent firm wide decision to now implement an hours minimum however no email has been sent saying so. A lot of associates got hit and received 0%-25%. Allegedly associates were ranked against other people in their class years for hours and that is how the grouping and payout was determined. First years and stub years seem to have been unaffected and gotten full bonuses, but every other class year was subject to this retroactive hours requirement without warning, They called everyone to tell them this so there are no email records.
This, unfortunately, isn’t the only time we’ve heard of a firm retroactively changing the requirements for bonuses, but it is the most recent. And we’d love to gather more details — in the name of transparency, of course!
So, is *your* firm engaged in bonus shenanigans? Above the Law wants to know! Feel free to sound off by email, by text message (646-820-8477), or by tweet (@ATLblog). A fun or insightful response — we’ll keep you anonymous — could find its way into an update to this story.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].
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