Bonuses at this law firm will be paid in installments and partly based on ‘realized hours’

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Associates at Goldberg Segalla will have to be patient because their bonuses will be paid in installments that stretch far into 2021.

Above the Law obtained the 15-page memo describing the bonuses, which do not adhere to the BigLaw standard of lockstep amounts based on associate class.

Goldberg Segalla’s bonuses are based on three components:

• Production, which is based on “realized hours.” That means that Goldberg Segalla will have to collect from the client for an associate to get a timely bonus. “Because we are a best practices firm, our goal is to reward quality work that our clients determine to be worthy of payment,” the memo says.

• Professional hygiene, which includes “team spiritedness,” timely time entry and adherence to client budgets.

• Leadership activities, such as contributions to new client development, identifying opportunities to add subject matter expertise to the firm, and doing exceptional work.

The first two bonus installments—each paying 12.5% of the gross bonus—will be paid by Dec. 31 and by Jan. 31. Twenty-five percent will be paid by April 30.

Half of the remainder will be paid by July 31 after write-offs and holdbacks are taken into account. The rest of the bonus will be paid by Oct. 31, after write-offs and holdbacks are taken into account. If clients make additional payments, a distribution for that amount will be paid.

“Please note that a bonus distribution is only realized if you are still employed by the firm on the date the distribution is to be paid as scheduled,” the bonus memo says. “Also note that the fact that you may have received a certain bonus last year or in a prior year has no bearing whatsoever on your bonus in any subsequent year, and should never be considered a floor, or a standard, nor create an expectation.”

The bonus announcement follows that of Baker McKenzie, which promised to pay bonuses matching last year’s scale of $15,000 to $100,000. If other law firms pay more, Baker McKenzie said, it would match them.

“Since Baker McKenzie made the first year-end bonus announcement last week,” Above the Law writes, “BigLaw has been pretty quiet on the bonus front. Let’s hope whichever firm acts next will do so with the nice, big lockstep numbers we’ve come to expect from the elite in BigLaw.”



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