March 05, 2006
What You Get With a Signing Bonus
March 5, 2006 09:03 PM
I had breakfast earlier today with a former neighbor of mine who is currently a MPP student. He will be working for a consulting firm in DC upon graduation. While discussing the topic of signing bonus he mentioned that he had to sign a contract stating among other things that he will not assert any defenses that he deserves the bonus (because if he leaves within two years he has to return at least 50% of the bonus). Both of us were a bit troubled by that. What if he gets hit on the head by a falling tile and can't return to work? What if his boss who is eager to get the bonus back places swastikas all over his office and says "Jews Out" (he's Jewish). This can't be right, can it? Do law firms have similarly onerous terms for accepting any signing bonus or advance? Bar stipend?
I am interested in the content of the "non-deserving" clause for the signing bonus. Can you provide it?
In my experience law firms are incredibly lax that way. I don't think many of them require associates to agree to any such clauses before receiving things like moving expenses and clerkship bonuses.
Take that with a grain of salt -- that was my experience at two firms. Then again those firms treated their lawyers pretty well. (I remember hearing some stories about law firms coming after associates for bonuses when things didn't quite pan out.)
Shag, I just have the convo to go on, but I will inquire about the actual language used.
i thnk most law firms are generally quite relaxed about those things, mainly because there are few occasions for them to be giving a signing bonus or such other items.