California firm Irell & Manella pay above-market bonuses

December 27, 2013 Elite California law firm Irell & Manella has released details of its associate bonuses, awarding sums at the top of the scale among US law firms.

Irell & Manella generally awards bonuses at above the New York market rate for associates that meet their billing targets, and in recent years bonuses have been as high as twice the Cravath scale. This year the bonuses aren’t quite that high above the competition, though they’re still well above the standard.

Bonuses at Irell & Manella are awarded according to a lockstep, with everyone who hits the 2000-hour mark getting the bonus specified for their seniority level.

The firm’s bonus scale is listed below, along with an indication of the sum paid by Cravath - the market standard in bonuses:

Class of 2012: $15,000 (market: $10,000)

Class of 2011: $20,000 (market: $14,000)

Class of 2010: $30,000 (market $20,000)

Class of 2009: $40,000 (market: $27,000)

Class of 2008: $50,000 (market: $34,000)

Class of 2007: $60,000 (market: $40,000)

Class of 2006: $75,000 (market: $50,000)

Class of 2005: $75,000 (market: $60,000)

The bonuses amount to about 1.5 times the Cravath scale, down from 1.75 times Cravath in 2012, and 2 times Cravath in 2011. Reports say that associates are somewhat apprehensive about the downward trend in bonuses, despite the firm’s high profitability.

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