Akin Gump follows Cravath's bonus scale, delays payment until 2011
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has announced its associate bonuses, adopting the Cravath, Swaine & Moore scale, at least in New York.
The Bonuses to be paid are as follows:
Class of 2009 — $7,500
Class of 2008 — $10,000
Class of 2007 — $15,000
Class of 2006 — $20,000
Class of 2005 — $25,000
Class of 2004 — $30,000
Class of 2003 — $35,000
Akin Gump associates, however, will have to wait until 15 February 2011 to collect their 2010 bonuses.
Above The Law makes the point that withholding the payment until this date means that associates at other firms will get a 45-day head start on the lateral market. The first months of the new year are considered to be the best time to lateral away from a large firm, since new year budgets and staffing needs have been set and lawyers moving at this time stand the best chance of making a full or nearly full bonus at the end of next year. Above the Law suggests that ‘by holding the bonus until February, Akin is keeping its superstars who want out tethered to the firm’.