A&O and Clifford Chance dish out bonuses to US lawyers

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Year-end and special cash rewards

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance (CC) will pay out sizeable cash bonuses to US associates as they look to keep pace with their rivals across the pond.

A&O announced yesterday that lawyers in its US offices will receive an annual year-end bonus of between $15,000 (£11,200) and $100,000 (£75,000) depending on qualification year. The lucky lawyers will also receive ‘special bonuses’ in recognition of their hard work during the pandemic, ranging between $7,500 (£5,600) and $40,000 (£30,000) depending on experience.

Class Year-end bonus Special bonus
2020 $15,000 (pro-rated) $7,500 (pro-rated)
2019 $15,000 $7,500
2018 $25,000 $10,000
2017 $50,000 $20,000
2016 $65,000 $27,500
2015 $80,000 $32,500
2014 $90,000 $37,000
2013 $100,000 $40,000
2012 $100,000 $40,000

The money move matches those dished out by a raft of top US outfits and fellow magic circle player Clifford Chance. CC said the US bonuses would be based upon “an assessment of each associate’s overall performance, including quality of work, contribution to the firm, teamwork and pro bono efforts. Where relevant, they will be pro-rated in accordance with our customary practices”.

Elsewhere, Freshfields recently announced appreciation bonuses ranging between $7,500 and $40,000 to US associates depending on seniority. It also confirmed the same year-end awards of between $15,000 and $100,000.

Earlier this summer, A&O and Clifford Chance trimmed the pay packets of newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in the UK in response to the pandemic. But as reported by Legal Cheek, A&O recently announced it was reinstating NQ pay packets, albeit £5,000 short of the £100,000 pre-COVID sum.

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US 2nd yr

Jesus, how much does this ram home the utter shoeing that MC associates get. Not only are they miles off the top of market in London, they are also paid significantly less than their own colleagues working in a different office.

Still, prestige etc…



Must sting that some second rate senior lawyers in their US offices are making almost the same in bonus payments than they get in salary



This is old news. All of the US firms in London announced their bonuses last month and they use the Cravath scale. Just shows how well US firms are doing compared to the MC/UK firms when they can pay their usual annual + special COVID bonus. Why do people still work at the MC firms on half the money of their counterparts at US firms?



Wonder if the pressure to treat associates the same in the UK as the US will filter down from the US firms in London to the MC. As such a disparity…

I know there are grumbles from FF partners about the Firm breaking the lockstep to hire partners in New York and Silicon Valley – wonder if this discontent will also emerge at the lower end.



Definitely not – the biggest sign was them cutting salaries while others such as white and case levelled heavy increases in London



Massive divide being opened up between US and UK firms here. UK Magic Circle firms no doubt paying out the US bonus through gritted teeth to keep up with the US market and hoping that their other lawyers can’t add up how much of a rough deal they are getting in comparison despite often working harder over the past year.



Staggering that A&O / CC treat their core teams differently in this way. Should not be tolerated. I wonder what the London (HQ!) associates will receive as a Christmas / end of year reward for their efforts during the pandemic?



A box of chocolates


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