Lawyer salary

Davis Polk equals Cravath and adds 20% “special bonus”

Davis Polk & Wardwell has entered the annual bonus fray, corresponding to the Standard set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore in late November and adding a 20% “special bonus” for all but the class of 2021, according to a memo obtained by

The memo details a year-end bonus structure that matches Cravath’s ladder, which several other companies have followed so far. But Davis Polk also has a “special bonuses” section. The schedule of special bonuses is as follows:

  • 2021: n/a
  • 2020: $4,000
  • 2019: $6,000
  • 2018: $11,500
  • 2017: $15,000
  • 2016: $18,000
  • 2015: $21,000
  • 2014 and senior: $23,000

Standard language applied to most of the memo, with the company stating that the special bonus is a “one-time bonus” and that both the standard bonus and the special bonus are subject to stipulations regarding “on-time agreements partial and start dates of 2021”.

Both bonuses will be paid on December 30, the memo says.

The memo also said special year-end bonuses for “non-U.S. attorneys, partners and employees, and other attorneys with special arrangements will be determined and communicated separately, and will be paid on the same schedule.”

After Cravath announced its bonus schedule last month, many companies fought back, perhaps to see if other compensation market leaders, such as Davis Polk, would up the ante.

Many other notable companies that have yet to announce their bonus structure are expected to do so shortly.