Sandra C. Goldstein

Mitt Romney’s unfortunate comment at the most recent presidential debate, in which he boasted about receiving “binders full of women” while trying to build a diverse cabinet as Governor or Massachusetts, has become a wildly popular internet meme. If you’re looking for some good laughs, check out this Tumblr or this slideshow.

Happily, there’s a Biglaw connection to all of this. At which leading law firm can you assemble your own “binder full of women”?

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Year-end bonuses have been announced at the market-leading firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. And they are even lower than last year’s Cravath bonuses.

But look, this is 2009. Welcome to the Great Recession. Your true bonus is: you get to keep your job. That shouldn’t be taken for granted, even at Cravath.

Anyway, here’s the Cravath bonus scale for 2009 (via the WSJ Law Blog):

Class of 2008 — $7,500
Class of 2007 — $10,000
Class of 2006 — $15,000
Class of 2005 — $20,000
Class of 2004 — $25,000
Class of 2003 — $30,000
Class of 2002 — $30,000

Cravath’s bonus announcement is always important because the market tends to follow Cravath — as it did last year. Skadden’s 2008 bonuses, at roughly twice Cravath’s levels, were ignored.

Could this year be different? Are the Cravath bonus levels low enough such that a firm of similar or even lower prestige will try to better CSM? Or will other Biglaw shops simply avail themselves of the political cover provided by Cravath — which is arguably what happened last year, when Skadden’s generous bonuses went unmatched (excluding Wachtell)?

So, readers, what do you think? Read the FULL MEMO, take a READER POLL, and COMMENT — after the jump.

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