Clifford Chance and A&O match Cravath's US associate bonuses

Magic circle firms announce US associate bonus rates matching level set by Cravath, which kickstarted the process this week


Clifford Chance (CC) and Allen & Overy (A&O) have become the first of the magic circle firms to unveil associate bonuses in the US, handing out top-level associates bonuses of $100,000 (£80,000) for the third year running.

In an internal announcement earlier today, CC laid out a scale for associate bonuses that matches rates revealed by US firm Cravath Swaine & Moore on Tuesday (29 November).

A&O has also matched Cravath’s rates, meaning the pair will pay out $15,000 (£12,000) to its most junior associates and $100,000 (£80,000) to those who joined in 2008 and 2009.

The bonus rates match those announced in  2015 and 2014.

CC informed lawyers about the bonuses earlier today via a memo to staff that confirmed they would be paid on 13 January 2017.

In the memo, CC’s regional managing partner for the Americas, Evan Cohen, said the bonuses would be based on each associate’s “overall performance” and management would assess lawyers’ “quality of work, contribution to the firm, teamwork and pro bono efforts”.

Other firms to match Cravath include Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, which, less than two hours after the Cravath news was published, moved to match the firm’s scale with a memo of its own. The Paul Weiss bonuses will be paid on 23 December, while Cravath bonuses will be paid on 16 December.

A Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy spokeswomen confirmed on Monday that the firm had sent a memo out to its associates announcing that it would also match Cravath’s bonus scale.

The bonuses come on top of a base pay rise that Cravath announced in June, the first time the firm had raised associate pay rates since 2007. Under the new pay scale, associates receive $180,000 (£144,000) in their first year and $315,000 (£252,000) by the time they are in their eighth year at the law firms.

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