Management at a firm yet to offer a Covid bonus

Osborne Clarke, Bird & Bird and Shoosmiths are the latest firms to thank their staff for their hard work during the pandemic by offering them an extra bonus.

Shoosmiths is rewarding staff with an additional "thank you" bonus of 7.7% of their annual wage, the equivalent of 4 weeks' pay. 

"We are absolutely delighted to be able to share the success of last year with every member of staff in the business without whose commitment and incredible hard work we could not have delivered such a strong performance," said Shoosmiths CEO Simon Boss. "No matter what last year held for staff, each person stepped up to play their part and we are grateful to everyone for their support and collaboration.”

Osborne Clarke is rewarding staff with a payment of 5% of salary "to thank them for their contribution" over the last year. The firm is also giving staff extra days off with an OC bank holiday on 2nd August, and an additional day's holiday in the next financial year. 

"The last year has been like no other, but despite the challenges, our people continued to provide brilliant support and commitment to our clients and our business," said an Osborne Clarke spokeswoman. The bonus is in addition to pay-rises and the Christmas bonus, and is offered due to the firm having a strong performance over the last year.  

Meanwhile, Bird & Bird is giving all staff a "thank you" bonus of EUR1,000, in addition to existing performance bonus schemes. 

"My heartfelt thanks to all of our people around our network for going above and beyond to continue to deliver our clients with the best possible service throughout this challenging time,” said David Kerr, Chief Executive Officer at Bird & Bird.

Other firms to have offered 'Covid bonuses' of 5% of salary include A&OClifford Chance, Herbert Smith FreehillsLinklaters and Hogan Lovells. While Addleshaw Goddard recently offered a set bonus of £1,500 to staff, and Ashurst dished out £1,000. DLA Piper let its staff choose between an extra week of pay or holiday. 

Meanwhile, some US firms, such as Morrison & Foerster and Akin Gump, have sprayed the cash with Covid bonuses of thousands of pounds.

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ShootyNotBackToStayJustVisiting 07 May 21 08:54

Morning: They got more inherited files as their colleagues left. Does that count?

Anonymous 07 May 21 09:05

Will that be the same Shoosmiths which put pressure on senior staff to take a voluntary pay cut, using the threat of a round of redundancy? It's not cricket to sell this as a "bonus", honestly.

Anon 07 May 21 09:11

Isn’t this just an advance of a bonus in the summer in many cases and it will be clawed back with no pay rises.  I

Gary 07 May 21 09:14

What actually is going on at S&G?  All the senior/mid level Lawyers across all of the departments seem to have left. Linkedin is full of them starting new jobs at other firms. 

Adam 07 May 21 09:44

Hmm - I wonder if many of these people would rather more headcount / support than bonuses. How long will people at firms be willing to get absolutely shafted for a few more £?

Hey, Nonny Mouse! 07 May 21 09:52

Even my bronze medallion regional firm has given a 5% bonus. 

The great advantage of working at such a firm is that we will get to keep more of our bonus, as we aren't in the 40% tax band. MORE FOOL YOU, YOU SMART-SUITED CITY TYPES! 

Anon 07 May 21 10:16

So many firms dishing out bonuses but not paying back furlough money. Noted some of the above have paid back but seriously how can people take a profit and pay bonuses when they have held onto the furlough cash. Doesn’t sit right. 

Hmm 07 May 21 10:57

Oc bonus is not Covid related, just standard annual profit share. Did get a free day off for two years though. 

Anonymous 07 May 21 11:03

No sign of any bonuses at our listed outfit. Or any sign of our 10% pay cut last year being repaid for that matter!

while my guitar gently weeps 07 May 21 11:48

@Anon 07 May 21 10:16

"So many firms dishing out bonuses but not paying back furlough money."

I'd much rather my firm keep the furlough money and pay me a bonus. Might as well grab as much for ourselves while we can, everybody else is.

Small fry 07 May 21 12:02

What about BM? They also just reinstated NQ pay to £90K and are paying out bonuses. Or is that just a Legal Cheek scoop?

Anonymous 07 May 21 15:38

OC paid back the furlough money several months ago.  5% bonus is the "normal" profit share payment following year end, which probably would have been generated anyway, but it has probably been boosted (to account for Covid) from something like 2% (had the usual formula been applied) to 5%, which is as high as the profit share has ever been.  There was also a flat 2.5% pay rise  a couple of months ago for all staff to make up for no pay review last year and there will be pay reviews and performance bonuses awarded as normal in the summer.

Anonymous 07 May 21 16:12

Ugh. Shoosmiths' spin again. It barely makes up for a decade in my bloody Shoos with very little pay increase.

Anon 07 May 21 20:29

@Anons 07 May 21 09:40 - No home working support; no tokens or gestures of gratitude for hard work; and to top it off a rejig of the bonus structure to reduce eligibility. People are pretty fed up.

Anonymous 07 May 21 11:03 07 May 21 22:14

Anonymous 07 May 21 11:03

If you don’t like it, move on.  You won’t be missed. 

A Bogg by name, a bog by nature 07 May 21 23:57

SPB offered a paltry one week of salary as a Covid bonus only to fee earning staff and as long as those fee earners on 100% (not 98 or 88, it has to be 100 or above) of your annual billable target. Which essentially means that only a very select few associates will bag the miserly bonus and everyone else can go f*ck themselves. Too bad if you’ve just missed the target number it for whatever reason.

Greedy turbokhunt partners have outdone themselves yet again. 

”Shaft your hardworking support staff and don’t give a toss, it’s the SPB way.”

Anonymous 08 May 21 01:25

As someone who had to take a "voluntary" pay cut for the best part of 5/6 months and then still got the boot, this is obviously music to my ears. I'm so glad that Shoosmiths have picked up the phone and offered to return the lost wages. Oh wait...







Anonymous 09 May 21 11:43

A Bogg by name, a bog by nature 07 May 21 23:57

The entitlement of some people on here is ridiculous. The decision to leave out non-fee earning staff from these bonuses is poor. At my firm, many of these individuals have still been going into the office to support the fee earners and deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. 

But with respect to your complaint about fee earners only earning their bonus if they are at 100% of their annual billable target - what is wrong with that? SPB has one of the lowest annual billable targets of any city firm (1600 I think?). I am not sure if it is lower in the regions. But in any event, bonuses are awarded for hard work and I hardly think you are working particularly hard if you are not on track to make what is,  by city standards, a relatively low hours requirement. Compared to some other people in the country, the associates at SPB are hardly doing badly. Get a grip, try and get some more hours under your belt, and, if you don’t like it, go to another firm. 

@ Anonymous 09 May 21 11:43 09 May 21 23:36

Nice to see one of the greedy SPB partners chiming in on how fair and generous the bonuses are. You forgot to crack the whip and get those entitled fee earners back to billing!

Anon 10 May 21 09:03

@anon 09 May 21 11:53

Second year without a pay rise at BLM (so technically a pay cut).  I'm not holding out hope for a bonus.

Anon 10 May 21 11:10

It’s not necessarily an equal playing field.   The huge firms can more readily afford to pay out bonuses because their PEP is already high because they do higher paid work and whilst those partners want to maximise their earnings it is easier to take a hit of say 5k if you’re already on 700K.  

If you’re in a market where there is less money going round - insurance litigation for example - it’s proportionately very expensive to pay out a bonus as an additional expenditure to the normal bonuses.  

Anonymous 10 May 21 13:07

"Tell me about the Covid bonuses at BLM"

Most of it was paid in non-cash benefits. So, for example, you got a special permission to go outside and congregate in large groups while shouting slogans, whereas everyone else in society had to stay indoors under threat of arrest.

Not sure what the actual cash value of it was, but it was a pretty special perk for a select few.

Anon 13 May 21 09:44

Pales in comparison to the $64k being thrown around at US outfits, added to their double salaries and genuine year-end bonuses topping six figures. And the "yeah but what about the horrendous hours at US law firms?!" argument is faltering more than ever, given the rough ride most City law firm staff have endured over the past year. A step change is surely required to retain talent in the long term...hours down or money/transparent career progression up.

Anonymous 14 May 21 08:53

Shoosmiths rewards bullies and forces the victims out. Working in their HR department, promoting the importance of wellbeing in the workplace whilst protecting that firm must be soul destroying. 

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