Thoughts of Recovery Dance Through Their Heads: Holiday Bonuses v Layoffs

Recovery is showing signs of really happening.

One such sign folks are taking note of is that the tabloid Abovethelaw.com [ATL] has been covering more news of bonuses for workers in the legal sector, instead of layoffs. Last holiday season, there was much more space in ATL devoted to reductions in forces and deferment of starting dates than stockings bulging with goodies.

In a recent post on ATL, there's plenty of attention to the bonuses at law firms such as Skadden and Cravath for those low down the food chain -- that is, the associates. Those bonuses range from $7,500 to $35,000, not bad for workers in the legal sector whose status is similar to that of assistant manager in the fast food industry.

But, still, as thoughts of the recovery dance through their heads, some associates aren't all that pleased with the amount. They might just cash the check and, optimistic about better times ahead, dump their current employers and look to be hired by more generous ones. After all, many of them are carrying a big nut from their law school days: The average student loan debt for associates is about $75,000. And it could be more than double that, as it has been for some California residents who graduate law school in that state. Think $165,984.

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