Goodwin hands out new lawyer ‘wellbeing’ bonuses and up to $20K for paralegals

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(Reuters) - More than a month after it doled out associate bonuses as high as $64,000, Goodwin Procter on Tuesday announced a new round of "wellbeing payments" of $1,000 for non-partner lawyers, as well as bonuses of up to $20,000 for U.S. paralegals.

In a Tuesday email to paralegals, firm managing partner Mark Bettencourt outlined bonuses worth between $8,000 and $20,000 that would be paid out in November, in addition to merit bonuses that will be paid in February 2022. The bonus would be dependent on paralegals' seniority and the number of hours they worked this year.

"We recognize how hard you are working and that this is a challenging period on many levels," Bettencourt said in the email. "This special bonus is important and necessary, but it will not ameliorate all of the competing demands on your time."

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In addition to the paralegal bonuses, Bettencourt announced $1,000 bonuses for all non-partner lawyers, science advisors and science law clerks in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.

"You may use this $1,000 payment however you would like to engage in self-care and to defray costs you have incurred during this extended period of remote work – like takeout meals while working long hours or new exercise equipment," Bettencourt said in another internal email.

The payments come as major firms grapple with concerns over lawyer and staff burnout and look for ways – ranging from widespread industry bonuses to special days off and other benefits – to retain lawyers and keep them content.

(Update/Correction: This story has been corrected to show that Goodwin Procter's U.S. paralegals will receive their special bonuses in November 2021, not February 2022. The story was also updated to reflect that Hong Kong-based lawyers, science advisors and science law clerks will also receive $1,000 bonuses.)

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.