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JSA manages to pay out bonuses on time, inducts freshers (but no fee-earner increments)

J Sagar Associates (JSA) has paid out bonuses to its fee-earners at the end of last week, pretty much on time and after having evaluated the financial situation over the past few months.

The fee-earner bonuses at JSA consist of performance related amounts, following a detailed appraisal process, separately from the firm also paying out a percentage share of a fee-earner’s direct billings, generally upwards of 8%.

Usually bonus payments at JSA had been paid out around the time of the firm’s annual retreat, which in non-pandemic times would have happened around October each year.

We understand that earlier this year the bonus process at JSA looked like it might have been a bit delayed, in part due to the difficulty of carrying out the appraisal process entirely virtually, which includes a self-assessment and an assessment by each partner of a fee-earner’s performance on a number of parameters.

Furthermore, in the early months of the pandemic, fee-earners had been internally told that JSA was not intending to do any cuts in headcounts and that partners hoped that bonuses would be paid on time, depending on the financial situation at the firm, though they could not guarantee that bonuses would happen.

However, JSA’s management had announced around early September 2020 that bonuses would be paid out to fee-earners around October.

That said, annual increments in remunerations have been frozen this year, as at many other firms.

JSA executive committee partner Dina Wadia, who oversees the HR management vertical, confirmed that bonuses had been paid and that freshers had joined.

“The EPs [equity partners] have borne the brunt of the burden and we have not cut the retainers / billing sharing either,” Wadia commented.

Freshers have also virtually joined the firm from college around 1 October 2020, with some having also joined earlier (similar to Khaitan & Co, which had welcomed its freshers on 12 October).

As at most other firms, the JSA joining date too had been postponed by a few months from around the usual time of July or August (Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) and L&L Partners had delayed joining dates until 2021, with CAM vowing to onboard freshers onto its virtual learning platform before then).

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