US firms announce static associate Christmas bonuses

Several US firms have announced their associate bonuses ahead of Christmas. Most are keeping their hand-outs static on last year, with associates set to pocket between $30,000 (£15,280) and $65,000 (£33,110).

Jones Day and McDermott Will & Emery, meanwhile, announced increases to their UK associates’ base salaries.

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy was the first to announce its global bonuses, with first-year associates garnering $30,000 and senior associates receiving $65,000, a static result on last year.

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison moved quickly to match Milbank, while Cravath Swaine & Moore’s range peaked at $60,000 (£30,560).

But Paul Weiss’s smallest bonus is actually $5,000 (£2,550) less than last year: 2005’s bonuses started at $35,000 (£17,830).

Cadwalader and Cravath are keeping their bonuses static for the second time in a row. This means that first-year associates at the firms will take home a total pay package of $175,000 (£88,440) this year, as base salaries at all the firms in question start at $145,000 (£73,860).

In February Sullivan & Cromwell sparked an associate salary war by raising its newly qualified rate by $20,000 (£10,190) to $145,000 – a figure matched by most New York firms. There was speculation that, because most firms had increased their base salaries, bonuses would be a fraction of what was offered last Christmas.

Also likely to announce their bonuses before the year’s end are Weil Gotshal & Manges and Sullivan.

This month has also seen Jones Day and McDermott announce increases in base salaries for their UK associates in 2007. McDermott increased first year salaries by 12.5 per cent to £67,500, while Jones Day’s newly qualifieds will enjoy a 17 per cent increase in their pay to £70,000.