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Here’s some very belated bonus news. Earlier this month, the New York office of Linklaters announced bonuses that matched the Cravath scale.

As usual at Linklaters, there was no hours requirement. The news was communicated via individual memo.

A Cravath match, especially in a bonus season when some firms are paying significantly more, kinda sucks isn’t that exciting. A Cravath bonus won’t get a Linklaters associate a pad as palatial as that of Linklaters partner Michael Bassett. Heck, $35K — the top of the Cravath scale — probably won’t even cover the cost of Bassett’s wallpaper.

But we’ll point out two nice things about Linklaters, both relating to tax issues….

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(But at least it has the gay gross-up.)”

This is just coming into the ATL inbox, but it appears that Sullivan & Cromwell has announced bonuses that will essentially match the Cravath bonus scale.

“Essentially,” because there are a few interesting caveats: people in the class of 2003 will get $37,500 — i.e., $2,500 more than the Cravath class of 2003 — and our tipsters say there is language in the memo suggesting that S&C might pay a spring bonus next year. (You’ll remember that S&C did not pay out spring bonuses this year.)

UPDATE (1:07 PM): In addition, people in the class of 2002 will get $42,500. The spring bonuses will depend on the firm’s performance.

UPDATE (1/21/11): Read about the S&C spring 2011 bonuses over here.

If you have more information (or the memo), please send us an email at tips@abovethelaw.com, or a text message at 646-820-TIPS.

In the meantime, this news looks like a compromise between the conflicting SullCrom factions we reported on last week

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And I was at — forgive the expression — a Christmas party at the Department of Justice, and people actually [were] really worried about this [budget issue].

— NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, in a recent on-air discussion. Totenberg’s apology for using the “C” word has generated controversy in conservative circles.

UPDATE: Totenberg intended no disrespect to Christmas. See here.

Does the Justice League know anything about justice?

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the New York Times profiled the most dork-tastic new blog: Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, supervillains, and the law. The blog brings a legal focus to various superhero universes from comics and movies.

I have a few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Wasn’t this the plot to the generally unwatchable Hancock? Doesn’t Will Smith goes into an alcoholic funk after he gets sued?
  • Wasn’t this also the set up of The Incredibles? They outlaw superheroes because of all the property damage they’re causing?
  • How long before the History Channel turns this blog into a television series? I say it’s out no later than the release date of the next Spiderman movie.
  • Speaking of Spiderman, did you hear that one of the actors in the Spiderman musical on Broadway fell out of the sky last night? It’s kind of horrifying, but you know: tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you.

Anyway, let’s take a look at these law dorks who have given up trying to ever impress a woman…

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And another one bites the dust. Simpson Thacher just announced associate bonuses, and they’re using the Cravath scale.

Here is one source’s concise communication: “Simpson Thacher bonus memo just released — matching Cravath. A**holes.” Says a second: “I feel like I got punched in the gut.” From a third: “People here are livid. Can’t believe they announced a month later than normal and matched. What BS.”

Another top firm matching Cravath? Honestly, it doesn’t sound shocking.

But the Simpson match might be slightly more newsworthy than the recent Cravath matches by Davis Polk, Cleary, and Debevoise. Here’s why….

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for a legal secretary / administrative assistant. Law firm partners are getting their end-of-year distributions, associates are getting their bonuses, and some of this bounty will be shared with their secretaries, in the form of Christmas — er, holiday — gifts.

What should you get your secretary as a holiday present? It’s a familiar question that comes up every year. Here’s an open thread where you can discuss and compare notes with your peers. We’ve also included a reader poll at the end of the post.

Let’s start the conversation with some preliminary observations….

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Shaun Ellis is getting sued over a snowball fight.

* The fight for the future begins: the FCC is going to deal with net neutrality today. Are we going to end up with a red pill versus blue pill scenario? [Media Decoder / New York Times]

* Super-agent Jim Wiatt, former head of the William Morris talent agency, is suing Winston & Strawn and former Winston partner Jonathan Star Bristol. [ABA Journal]

* With the threat of a Cuomo lawsuit, Ernst & Young is totally wishing that it didn’t ignore those Repo 105s on the Lehman books right about now. [Going Concern]

* For most law firms, the Twitterverse is still a poor and misunderstood red-headed step child – the kind not even worthy of a single beating. [Corporate Counsel]

* It’s a good thing Above the Law doesn’t have a repeal amendment, or the commentariat would try to overturn my employment. [CBS News]

* What does this pedophile want for Christmas? A 12-year-old stocking stuffer. The author of the how-to guide for child touchers was arrested under Florida law. [CNN Justice]

* Shaun Ellis is getting sued for throwing a snow ball. Okay, so it was a snow boulder, but it looks like the only thing that got hurt was the victim’s ego. [New York Post]

* What this lonely Jew is going to do for Christmas: get drunk, eat Chinese food, and read about superhero law. Because really, I’m just that nerdy. [New York Times]

Left to right: Breaking Media CEO John Lerner and ATL editors Elie Mystal and David Lat.

The Above the Law holiday party last Wednesday was a huge success. So I’ve been told. Apparently, my night ended at some diner on the LES with Marin telling the waitress I needed an IV of fluids. Or something like that. Also, if you have my cell phone, hat, left shoe, or Livescribe Echo Smartpen, please send it back.

The event was hosted by our friends at Practical Law Company and ELR Search. They were great partners to have for an event like this. There were many readers who came to the event, and once they found out that I was actually not that entertaining (and kind of a bastard) in person, PLC and ELR representatives were there to give our readers some information between their drinks. It was a win-win. Readers got value and free drinks from our partners, and — emboldened by libations — they got to give me a piece of their mind. Apparently I really piss a lot of you off; who knew?

Lat was there too, of course. But people are nice to him and he didn’t get hammered, so his memories are pleasant. But who wants to read about other people’s happiness? Let me tell you how things went down from my point of view….

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Are we really going to live in a world where the firms that consistently rank highest on the Vault surveys are paying a smaller bonus than the firms just one tier down? Are we really going to live in a world where partnerships at Cravath, Skadden, and Davis Polk are paying smaller bonuses to many of their people than Kirkland, Sidley, and Cahill?

Perhaps so. Cleary Gottlieb just announced its bonus scale, and the firm is doing its part to keep the associate bonus market as low as possible. It’s a straight match of Cravath….

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David Kelly: Katten associate and acclaimed hip-hop artist.

* Looking for a last-minute gift idea for the civil-liberties-loving lawyer in your life? Kash recommends this underwear. [Forbes]

* Actress Zooey Deschanel is suing footwear maker Steve Madden. Does her lawsuit have legs? [Fashionista]

* Law professors might not excel at practicing law, but “they often are pretty good at the enterprise of being a law professor.” [Underbelly]

* What’s law firm diversity like over in London? Lawyers who are “BME” — “black and ethnic minority” — are growing in number at City law firms. [The Guardian (U.K.)]

* Career alternatives: hip-hop artist? By day, he’s David J. Kelly of Katten Muchin Rosenman; by night, he’s “Cap D.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Plaintiffs’ firms make new partners too. [Motley Rice (press release)]

* Don’t forget: get your holiday card contest entries in by 11:59 PM today! [Above the Law]

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Is blogging a useful business development tool?

The folks who sell blogging platforms to lawyers say that blogging is the route to riches. But bloggers themselves are far less certain whether blogging actually generates business. What’s the truth?

Let me start with my personal experience; I’ll conclude with a thesis. The personal experience is just the facts — what I did as a blogger, how successful the blog was, and how, if at all, I profited from the experience. (I’ve previously recited parts of this story in both the print media and elsewhere. I’ll try to add a few new thoughts here.)

What did I do as a blogger? For three years — from October 2006 through December 2009 — while I was a partner at Jones Day, I co-hosted the Drug and Device Law Blog with Jim Beck, of Dechert. We wrote almost exclusively about the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device product liability cases. We affirmatively chose to have the blog co-hosted by partners at two different firms, for two reasons….

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Partners are calling Kirkland & Ellis associates right now and letting them know about their 2010 bonuses. The early reports we are getting are positive — very positive. Thus far, the people we’ve heard from are getting more, often substantially more, than their class-year counterparts at Cravath.

Exactly how much more? That really depends. Kirkland has an individualized bonus structure that takes into account an associate’s seniority, hours worked, and performance rating (e.g., “with class,” “above class,” etc.). The folks we’ve heard from so far have been quite happy (although we’re guessing bonus laggards at K&E will be less quick to come forward).

While Kirkland can try to hide its generosity from public scrutiny, this is why God invented crowdsourcing. Please share your bonus numbers (or approximations thereof) over email or in the comments. We’re especially interested in hearing from people who have knowledge of the bigger picture (i.e., not just knowledge of their own individual bonuses, but the K&E bonus distribution more generally).

UPDATE: After the jump, we’ve added SEVERAL UPDATES about the overall distribution of Kirkland bonuses.

We’ll get you started with news from our tipsters…

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