Buzz Update It’s not just Wall Street: lawyers are cashing in on the bonus bonanza TOU

Buzz Update It’s not just Wall Street: lawyers are cashing in on the bonus bonanza

 TOU

It’s not just Wall Street: lawyers are cashing in on the bonus bonanza

The Post reports that lawyers are hoping to cash in on the bonus bonanza that is looming on Wall Street.

Signing bonuses for lawyers are at record levels – according to legal recruiters, some junior partners are charging up to $ 1 million to sign up for a new company. And young lawyers with senior associate status can receive $ 100,000 in recruitment bonuses.

“One-time bonuses are on the rise to bring people to the door,” Nancy Zehner, president of Artemis Group and founder of a legal recruiting firm, told The Post. “Signing bonuses are now prevalent – and in some cases, huge.”

The bonus gusher comes with the total workload at some law firms working in Wall Street outfits that have seen record-breaking mergers and acquisitions in the wake of the epidemic. “Organizations were shocked to see their workflow increase during COVID – and they need a lot of people to work with,” Zahner said.

Sign-on bonus is a relatively new phenomenon in the legal field, said Ru Bhatt, a partner at legal-recruiting firm Major, Lindsay & Africa. “Then in 2020 law firms had to start rejecting projects because they did not have the bandwidth to complete their work” so they had to start paying to attract new recruits.

Junior partners are getting up to $ 1 million to move companies.
Universal Images Group by Getty

When it comes to total compensation, a junior partner in a white-shoe company can be expected to earn up to $ 1 million, sources told The Post. So, the extra $ 1 million signature bonus – above the seven-figure base – could be quite a lure.

Meanwhile, first-year associates at a top company like Davis Polk & Wardwell can expect to receive a $ 215,000 base salary – with a $ 20,000 closing year bonus, sources added. And senior associates – typically with five years of experience – can expect up to $ 345,000 in base salary plus a $ 90,000 final year bonus.

Lawyers’ pay will come after bankers earn their biggest bonuses in 2021 – 35% more than the previous year. Bankers faced a dizzy workload – thanks to the increase in deals – and even the lawyers working on those deals were unusually busy.

But incoming lawyers and bankers are not the only ones collecting cash at record levels. It’s also recruiters. According to industry experts, recruiters typically receive a 25% -30% commission on a lawyer’s first-year salary. In recent months, some law firms have begun to offer recruiters a 50% commission on their lawyer’s salary in an effort to find qualified attorneys.

Many companies and recruiters, speaking to The Post, offer a kind of signature bonus to top candidates. Others, however, go a step further and offer payments across the board to anyone who comes on board.

Kirkland
Unlike top banks, some of the most reputable law firms offer flexible hybrid schedules for employees.
Lightrocket by Getty Images

Even small companies are making large sums of money. A source said that a medium-sized company is offering $ 50,000 to any new signature associate who agrees to join for at least nine months.

People in the industry said there was a special demand for corporate finance and other areas of corporate law. “The legal market has been following the business market for almost six months… so deal lawyers and others are still very busy,” Zahner said. “And the New York courts are fully reopened, which is hoping for lawyers as well.”

Due to the urgent need for help, law firms are also seeing new appointments move quickly: a source says she will see partners launching into a new firm the next day sharing news that they are leaving their old one.

Of course it’s not just about the money. Some lawyers focus more on flexibility – and banks offer it as a competition for workers. And instead of big banks like Goldman Sachs demanding workers at their desks five days a week, top companies like Kirkland & Ellis and Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett allow hybrid work.

A large law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urkhart & Sullivan, allows completely remote work.

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