About That Year-end Bonus….
Above The Law today posts “A Shout-Out to All The Legal Types Getting a $0 Bonus This Holiday Season” addressing primarily paralegals and other support staff:
While many associates complain about greedy partners who won’t share the wealth with their associates, there are few associates who are willing to take less so there is more bonus money left over for staff. Laments one paralegal reader:
Take it from me, no one feels more screwed during bonus time than the secretaries and paralegals that bust their asses all year long and that have remained loyal to a law firm to only get a bonus that barely covers their parking bill for the month.
The article references primarily BigLaw firms, but it is likely that smaller firms are feeling – or claiming to feel – the same pinch. It is, however, more difficult I think for smaller law firms where the attorneys and support staff work together as a more intimate team to hold back on bonuses. Each of the small firms in which I was a partner (I talking really small here from 1-3 attorneys) made an extra-effort to pony-up for bonuses at the end of the year, even when it meant the attorneys taking home less than expected. This occurred even in the early 1980′s recession.
While I still do some consulting and handle individual cases, I can no longer be considered to “have a law office,” so I’m not necessarily aware of what is happening currently in small firms. (Please feel free to let me know.) However, I must echo Above the Law‘s suggestion that all law firms remember and reward their paralegals this year. (Gifts, especially copies of any of The Empowered Paralegal series of books, are, of course, wonderful, but cannot possibly substitute for a bonus that recognizes their contributions to the firm’s bottom line.)