US associates at Freshfields and Linklaters to receive up to $100k bonus as firms match NY rates

US associates at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters are set to receive end-of-year bonuses of up to $100,000 (£74,000), as the firms follow the New York market rate set by Cravath Swaine & Moore last week.

Freshfields confirmed today (4 December) that it would pay its US associates bonuses on the ‘Cravath scale’, referring to the sliding scale used by the New York firm, which stretches from $15,000 (£11,000) for first-year associates to $100,000 (£74,000) for ninth-year associates.

Linklaters will also pay out bonuses at the same rates, with US head Tom Shropshire sending out an email to the firm’s US lawyers in which he said bonuses would be “in accordance with the New York market”.

The bonuses mean first-year associates at firms matching Cravath’s rates could earn $195,000 (£146,600), including the $180,000 (£135,000) starting associate salary that Cravath set as the market standard last year for top firms.

Eighth-year associates will earn $415,000 (£312,000), including $100,000 (£75,000) in bonus and $315,000 (£237,000) in base compensation.

Both Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have already confirmed that their associates will receive bonuses on the Cravath scale.

US firms including Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft have also told associates they are matching the scale, while other top US firms are expected to fall in line in the coming weeks.

US bonus scale

Class of 2017 — $15,000 (pro-rated)

Class of 2016 — $15,000

Class of 2015 — $25,000

Class of 2014 — $50,000

Class of 2013 — $65,000

Class of 2012 — $80,000

Class of 2011 — $90,000

Class of 2010 — $100,000

Class of 2009 — $100,000