Real Estate

Well, the bonus scale has been set. Cravath led — by copying their bonus payments from last year — and now everybody is following. I’m on record saying that these bonuses are underwhelming and disappointing.

Gone are the days where the first-year bonus represented a significant chunk of your law school debt. Sure, you can pay down some interest with your bonuses, or you can prudently save it, or maybe even invest it. But you can also blow it. I mean, it’s a “bonus,” right? In this depressed market, your bonuses look less like deferred compensation and more like “found money.” Instead of making a fiscally sound decision, using your bonuses for profligate, discretionary spending might make you feel better. (Disclosure: Elie Mystal is not a registered financial adviser and is too… stupid to follow a budget.)

Bonuses range from $10,000 for first-year associates to $60,000 for senior people. Professor Paul Caron of Tax Prof Blog tells me that associates can expect to take home about 60% percent of that, depending on where they live and how many dependents they have.

What can a young lawyer buy with that? In addition to what’s in the ATL holiday gift guide, here are 10 things…

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Stan Stallworth and Therrie Miller (click to enlarge)

It’s almost law school exam time, so let’s run through some hypotheticals. An uncle having sex with his niece: should that constitute illegal incest?

What about an uncle having sex with his nephew? Does the fact that it’s “gay incest,” with no possibility of procreation, make it less troubling?

What about an uncle and his nephew allegedly getting a teenage male drunk and tag-teaming him? Whether or not it’s “incest,” it sounds problematic.

According to Chicago prosecutors, such a situation unfolded last week. And the oldest man in the threesome is a partner at one of the world’s leading law firms….

(Please note the multiple UPDATES added below.)

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It’s an adverse possession story! We have an adverse possession story. Pull out your first-year Property casebooks and remember that time in law school you learned that “law words” sometimes have no bearing on what those words mean in the regular world.

There’s a guy who is going around Ohio, “possessing” what he calls abandoned houses, and then filing quiet-title claims against the real owners. The actions have worried the owners (at least some of whom have their houses in foreclosure by the banks). In more entertaining news, we get to watch local media react with horror as they confront the mere possibility of adverse possession. I love when laypeople confront Property issues; they’re always so confused and frightened. Prescriptive easements! Fee simple! PERPETUITIES!

Anyway, of all the non-lawyers involved, the worst is the guy actually trying to possess these houses. He’s a man who knows just enough to be stupid….

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* At MSU Law, a couple of law professors are getting serious about figuring out how to leverage technology in the profession. They envision making legal hiring into “Moneyball” with MSU Law representing Oakland. So they plan to raise false hopes and ultimately fail too? [Lansing State Journal]

* A real estate attorney is hosting a boot camp to train slumlords. Yay? [SF Gate]

* If you never thought electing state judges was a matter of life and death, read this. [Huffington Post]

* Here’s a fun one: Should TheDirty.com be liable for encouraging readers to submit gossip? Our old friend Sarah Jones hopes so. [Forbes]

* The Steubenville rape case is back in the news after a grand jury has indicted four school officials for covering up the school’s infamous rape. [Jezebel]

* A couple of former Harvard Law roommates have a fashion startup called ShopRagHouse that allows customers to design their own clothes. They’re seeking some additional funding for their next collection with a Kickstarter campaign now. [Kickstarter]

* If you’re in New York and interested about legal careers in banking, swing by the Fordham Law amphitheater tonight from 6 to 8 for a free panel discussion featuring representatives from some of the largest banks in the world hosted by the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. [Eventbrite]

The Beresford (at right)

Seven years ago this month, M&A lawyer Gregory Ostling was elected to the partnership of Wachtell Lipton, effective January 2007. In our story about the news, we referred to Wachtell as “obscenely profitable and dazzlingly prestigious.”

Wachtell routinely tops the Am Law 100 rankings in profits per partner and the Vault rankings of law firm prestige. In 2011, according to the American Lawyer, WLRK enoyed PPP of $4.975 million.

Because the firm has a single-tier partnership and is fairly lockstep (with just a handful of senior partners off the lockstep), even junior partners at Wachtell do very well for themselves. So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that a relatively young partner like Greg Ostling just bought not one but two multimillion-dollar apartments at the Beresford — one acquired from a famous athlete, and one from an heiress — which presumably he’s going to combine into a single fabulosity-oozing residence….

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The job market for new attorneys is bad, but you already know that. People are struggling to find any paying legal work of any kind, even as they hope that one day the investment they’ve made in law school will pay off. And you already know that.

Employers know that. Employers know that you are desperate and sad, and they’re happy to take advantage of that. But there’s an employer posting on Craigslist who wants to hire you, even though they know you’re going to spend a lot of your time there crying in your office.

I mean “cubicle”….

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If it’s good enough for Justice Thomas….

Justice Clarence Thomas famously travels around the country over the summer in his 40-foot recreational vehicle (RV). Since 1999, Justice Thomas and his wife Ginni have visited some 27 states in their RV. According to Mrs. Thomas, “it’s a wonderful life.” The Thomases often park overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots. As Justice Thomas notes, “you can get a little shopping in, see part of real America. It’s fun!”

If spending night after night in an RV is good enough for an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, it should be good enough for a young lawyer, right? In the latest installment of Lawyerly Lairs, we visit with a Biglaw associate who lives in an RV down by the river….

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A lawyer’s letter, properly written, can be a thing of beauty. In recent months, we’ve shared with you a very funny settlement offer letter, an epic response to a cease-and-desist letter, and another C&D response that laid the smackdown on a top Biglaw firm.

But sometimes snarky letters miss the mark. Take this prospective law student’s response to a rejection letter. Some readers appreciated it, but many others (myself included) felt it went too far.

A fine line separates wit and obnoxiousness. And reasonable minds can disagree on whether a given letter embodies the former or the latter.

We recently got our hands on an amazing lawyer’s letter out of Los Angeles. It was written a while ago, but it’s only making the rounds now. What do you make of it?

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Go f@ck yourself and die.

Steven M. Regan, a partner at Reed Smith, telling the folks at SCOTUSblog how he really feels, via Twitter.

(What on earth could have inspired Regan to act this way? Keep reading to find out.)

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Things have quieted down a bit on the Weil Gotshal front. About a week has passed since our last report on Biglaw’s biggest source of drama.

Today we have some news to share about WGM — information gleaned from partner departure memos out of Dallas, the site of the biggest defections, and a real estate report from New York, the King’s Landing of Weil Gotshal….

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