Up to £47k

Akin Gump joins a growing number of US law firms awarding their London associates with special spring bonuses of up to $64,000 (£46,500) in recognition of their “exceptional contributions” this past year.

The firm will award associates and counsel in the US, London and Hong Kong with special bonuses in May and October 2021 that match the prevailing market standard.

They’ll receive between $4,500 (£3,300) and $24,000 (£17,400), depending on experience, on 15 May, and a second bonus five months later on 15 October, ranging from $7,500 (£5,400) to $40,000 (£29,000). Taken together, a 2014 qualifier will receive the maximum $64,000 (£46,500) bonus and a 2020 qualifier $12,000 (£8,700).

Akin Gump said that given “we are only a quarter into the year, productivity will not be factored into the May bonus”. It also clarified that its year-end bonuses will not be affected by the special bonus, and that the firm expects to continue with its usual year-end process at the market scale.

“As we pass the one-year anniversary of working remotely and reflect on the many challenges we have faced both collectively and as individuals, the partners would like to recognise the exceptional contributions you have been making,” said Akin Gump partner and chairperson, Kim Koopersmith, in a memo circulated among staff this week. “You have all been a huge part of the success of the firm. Thank you for all that you are continuing to do for our clients and the firm. The level of commitment has been intense and you have all risen to make extraordinary contributions in extraordinary times.”

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Akin Gump’s London lawyers earn upwards of $190,000 (approx. £138,000), Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows, making it one of the highest paying firms in the City. They also received special bonuses of up to $40,000 (£29,000) in the autumn for their lockdown endeavours.

In January of this year, Akin Gump’s London office reported revenue at $149.2 million (£108.2 million), a 19% increase on the previous financial year, with global revenue standing at $1.2 billion (£871.3 million) — a 6.5% increase on 2019.

Ropes & Gray, meanwhile, has announced special spring bonuses of its own. The firm is matching Akin Gump’s scale for associates and counsel in the US and Asia, but those in London will receive special bonuses “adjusted to reflect London’s separate compensation scale”, according to a firm memo.

Ropes & Gray, while unable to confirm the London pay scale, said the instalments will be paid on 30 April and at the end of December. This is in addition to the firm’s regular year-end bonuses.

Ropes & Gray associates in London start on a minimum salary of £130,000, according to our Firms Most List.

It was reported last week that Milbank, Skadden, Paul Hastings and Goodwin Procter had joined the spring bonus party awarding their London associates with up to $64,000 (£46,500) in recognition of their endeavours throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The news piles on pressure to other London-based US law firms to pay out similar awards.

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