This is a humorous and sarcastic blog written by a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm in a mid-tier market. The goal is to share some of the pitfalls and foibles encountered in my own day-to-day experiences. Feel free to contact me at aparalegalslife@gmail.com with comments. Complaints, not so much :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Appreciate What You Have

Recent stories about so-called "spring bonuses" to associates at BigLaw firms, and how some associates are already complaining that they haven't been issued yet, made me wonder:  Didn't we just go through end-of-year bonuses to attorneys a couple months ago?  Who complains about not getting another bonus when they weren't guaranteed the first one anyway? 

True, annual end-of-year bonuses are customary in most firms.  It's understandable to be upset if a firm cheaps out on (or eliminates entirely) the end-of-year bonus that is a long-standing tradition.  But people who act as though it's their right to get a second bonus for the year just a couple months later (one that is decidedly not a BigLaw tradition), strike me as incredibly ungrateful in this job market.

I'm happy and thankful just to get one bonus.  Even as a senior, highly experienced paralegal with major responsibilities, I make about half of what the most junior first-year associates do.   My billable hour requirements are the same, and I don't go home until they do.  So noone can say I haven't worked hard for what I get.

My bonus is typically a week's salary (before taxes), as are bonuses for most non-attorney staff in my experience.  That works out to just under 2% of my annual pay.  On a good year, I may get a two-week salary bonus, which doubles that to 4%.  Attorneys frequently get end-of-year bonuses that are roughly 25% or so of their annual salary.  In percentages, that difference is a factor of 6 to 12 times as much as I get.

So next time attorneys complain about the lack of a second bonus, remember there are still thousands of unemployed lawyers who were laid off 2 or more years ago that would kill you and melt your body in acid just to take your job.  Not to say all those 3L's graduating this year who still don't have jobs.  Get your priorities straight and be thankful that you still have a six-figure job at all.


Corporate Paralegsal said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is a great post. I am sure that there will be some backlash from associates who feel that they are entitled to the Spring Bonus. Justify the entitlement folks but be sure to remember that your arguments (long hours, billable hours, bringing in clients) can be countered by paralegal and other support staff (long hours as well, same number of billable hours but more creative since most clients don't like double-billing but you insist that we bill for that meeting we attended together, keeping your current clients that you brought in happy because you are moving on to a bigger fish).

Lynne DeVenny said...

Like :)