To attract and retain talented business lawyers in a highly competitive Texas market, corporate law firms are dishing out major holiday bonuses to their associates this year.
As usual, no firm does it bigger in Texas than Susman Godfrey.
More than a handful of firms with Texas operations – Akin Gump, DLA Piper, Gibson Dunn, Hogan Lovells, Katten, Norton Rose Fulbright, O’Melveny, Paul Hastings, Simpson Thacher, Weil Gotshal and Willkie Farr – have announced they are giving year-end bonuses ranging from $15,000 for brand new first year associates to $115,000 bonuses for eighth year lawyers.
Many of the law firms added “special productivity bonuses” that start at $4,000 to $23,000.
Sidley, a Chicago-founded law firm that has about 200 lawyers in its Texas offices, started its holiday bonuses at $20,000 for newbie attorneys.
The Texas Lawbook earlier reported that Sidley planned to increase annual salaries for associates by $10,000 for first year attorneys, which would have put their newbie lawyer salaries at $215,000 annually. But Sidley clarified that the $10,000 raise goes to first year associates going into their second year at the firm. Entry level corporate lawyers will have to continue scraping by on $205,000 a year.
Sidley and other firms pay their eighth-year lawyers $375,000. Law firms consider associates for partnership in their ninth year. When mid-year bonuses are included, eighth year attorneys at corporate law firms now make more than half-a-million dollars annually.
On Wednesday, Houston-based litigation powerhouse Susman Godfrey announced it is paying its associates bonuses ranging from $105,000 to $215,000.
Susman has had a big year in Texas. The firm represented CenterPoint Energy in potential litigation involving Winter Storm Uri and has been hired by Live Nation to represent the concert promoter in the Astroworld tragedy last month that killed 10 people and injured scores of others.