Spring bonuses abound while partnership prospects wither

February 14, 2011 Just one month after firms handed out their end of year bonuses, it seems that it is bonus time again. A number of firms have made announcements regarding ‘spring bonuses’ of up to almost $50,000, to be paid in April. Associates at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft will all receive springtime bonuses.

Meanwhile, long-term career prospects at big firms are not looking so rosy. New York Law Journal's Nate Raymond reports: "Consultants say making partner has become more challenging in this economic environment, which has caused firms to trim their ranks of new partners and stretch out the partnership track." The figures bear out this assessment. Cravath, for example, made only one partner in 2010, which is one more than they made up in 2009.

The spring spending spree seems at odds with the economic climate, but legal consultant Eve Birnbaum says that the bonuses have less to do with demand for associates, and more to do with PR strategy: "firms are telegraphing to the world, 'We had a great year and are doing well and have not been damaged by the economy'".

Read more at thecareerist.typepad.com.

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