Horses

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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Judge William Adams

* Remember Judge William Adams, the Texas state court judge who was reportedly videotaped in the act of beating his daughter, Hillary Adams? He has now commented on the situation (and so has his ex-wife, Hallie Adams). [KZTV.com]

* And here is Kashmir Hill’s take on the whole sad situation. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Members of the law review at GW Law School have issued a comment on the recent email controversy — which is impressive! (Aside: lighten up, guys; it’s all in good fun.) [Nota Bene]

* FYI, if you have problems with anonymous comments here at Above the Law, you should know that we’re having an internal discussion about possibly changing our system. [What About Clients?]

* Beating a dead horse isn’t illegal. Doing what this woman did to a dead horse isn’t illegal. Sucks to be a dead horse. [Daily Mail]

* Our friend Joseph Rakofsky makes it into the Urban Dictionary. [The Trial Warrior; Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* Says Elie: “Some say WVU’s lawsuit against the Big East reflects ‘arrogance.’ The real arrogance is how Notre Dame refuses to come in and save the conference.” [Legal Blitz]

* Swordplay: it’s all fun and games until someone’s intestines spill out of his abdomen. [CBS 3 - Springfield]