The First Firm To Blow Cravath Bonuses Out Of The Water

Above the Law
Published on:
November 20th, 2018
Photo: Above The Law

Admit it: Biglaw associates want bigger and better bonuses. Biglaw has had the same bonus structure for the past three years, and whether associates would like to admit it or not, everyone keeps hoping that another firm will come over the top to force their own firm to match and further fatten their bank accounts. It’s early yet in bonus season 2018, and one firm is already exceeding Cravath’s bonuses by quite a lot.

But will any other firms match?

Kaplan Hecker & Fink, a firm that’s existed for less than two years, is already punching above its weight. The firm matched Cravath bonuses when it was less than one year old, raised associate salaries to the $190K scale this summer, and has now raised the bar on bonus bucks. Just how high are the bonuses at this firm?

Class of 2017 — $25,000 ($10K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2016 — $37,500 ($12.5K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2015 — $65,000 ($15K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2014 — $85,000 ($20K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2013 — $105,000 ($25K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2012 — $120,000 ($30K higher than Cravath)
Class of 2011 — $130,000 ($30K higher than Cravath)

Not only are Kaplan Hecker & Fink’s bonuses higher than Cravath’s, but the firm will also be contributing to a profit sharing plan for each associate. On top of all of that, the firm truly embraces social justice causes, and as noted in their bonus memo, “because we understand that there are so many people and causes that desperately need our help in the world today,” Kaplan Hecker is going to match up to $2,500 of all attorney and staff donations to nonprofits through the end of the year.

Kaplan Hecker & Fink’s bonus bounty will hit bank accounts on December 21. How could you not love this firm? If you want to get in on the action, we hear they’re hiring. Congratulations to the firm on a fantastic year, and congratulations to all associates for these market-busting bonuses! What a nice reward for your hard work!



As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we want to express our gratitude to each of you for the outstanding work that you did this past year. We began this Firm in July 2017 with four attorneys working on laptops on folding tables with a belief that, working together, we could attract the best legal talent, provide clients with legal services at the highest level, and devote substantial time to groundbreaking public interest litigation. Now, only sixteen months later, we have far surpassed even our own hopes and dreams thanks in large part to your dedication, hard work, brilliance, and client commitment. In other words, our Firm truly would not be where it is today without each and every one of you.

While we sincerely hope that you too feel deep pride in the amazing things that we have accomplished together, we also want you to share in the Firm’s financial success, which is itself another core value of our Firm. We are, therefore, so pleased to be able to announce our year-end bonuses for associates as follows:

Class / Bonus
2017 $25,000
2016 $37,500
2015 $65,000
2014 $85,000
2013 $105,000
2012 $120,000
2011 $130,000

Bonuses will be paid on December 21; attorneys who were with the Firm for only part of the year will receive a pro-rated portion of the applicable class-level bonus. In recognition of your outstanding contributions to the Firm, we will also be contributing to a profit sharing plan for each of you. Finally, because the Firm’s mission embraces social impact, and because we understand that there are so many people and causes that desperately need our help in the world today, the Firm will match all attorney and staff contributions to an eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit through the end of the year, up to $2,500 per person.

Thank you again for a truly fantastic year. We are so grateful that you have put your trust in us by joining our team, and we can’t wait to see the victories yet to come, as we welcome our extraordinary class of summer and new associates in 2019.

Julie E. Fink | Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP


Read this at Above the Law.