Davis Polk To Hand Associates Up To $40K In Bonuses

By Aebra Coe
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Law360 (September 15, 2020, 5:41 PM EDT) -- Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's senior leadership team on Tuesday told its U.S. associates they will receive bonuses ranging from $7,500 to $40,000 in recognition of their work during the "unprecedented" challenges that have presented themselves so far this year.

The bonuses, which will be handed to associates Sept. 30, will not impact their usual year-end bonuses, the Davis Polk leadership team said in an email to attorneys, adding, "We expect that our 2020 year-end bonuses will not be lower than the bonuses paid out in 2019."

"The year 2020 has been one in which we all have had to grapple with new challenges, at home and at work, and adjust to a reality none of us could ever have imagined," the email said. "We recognize that activity levels across the firm have been high, and we are grateful for the exceptionally hard work you have put in."

The announcement arrived a day after news broke Monday that Cooley LLP will be offering "special appreciation bonus" payments of $2,500 to $7,500 to associates, special counsel and of counsel in recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bonuses at Davis Polk include $7,500 for associates who graduated law school in the class of 2019, $10,000 for the class of 2018, $20,000 for the class of 2017, $27,500 for the class of 2016, $32,500 for the class of 2015, $37,000 for the class of 2014, and $40,000 for those in the class of 2013 and others more senior, the email said.

Bonuses for non-U.S. associates will be determined and communicated separately, according to the law firm, and counsel will be rewarded for their performance through year-end bonuses.

Last November, Davis Polk unveiled its 2019 year-end associate bonuses, with a scale that ranged from $15,000 for the most junior attorneys to $100,000 for more senior associates, according to legal blog Above the Law.

The news of additional bonuses this year comes as many law firms are dialing back previous pay cuts related to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty this spring. A large swath of the industry cut pay for associates, although it does not appear Davis Polk or Cooley were among those firms.

Davis Polk is among the most profitable law firms in the U.S., ranking sixth in the American Lawyer's list of law firms with the highest profits per equity partner with $4.5 million in 2019 and revenue per lawyer of just under $1.5 million.

--Additional reporting by Kevin Penton. Editing by Alyssa Miller.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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