The indignities heaped upon our nation's young attorneys continue to pile up like snowdrifts on the bleak city streets. Consider the plight of today's humble barristers: having spent the year confined to an office, they emerge to find...a bonus nightmare.

Wherefore the sweet promise of the upwards ladder, the mythical rewards foretold for the long hours of toil on contracts and torts and other things that oil the mighty gears of the corporatocracy? How bitter the taste of shattered illusion; how pained the screams of the dying American Dream.

Bonuses at many top Wall Street law firms have ranged up to $35,000 this year, about the same as in 2009. That's substantially less than just a few years ago. Base pay for an associate at a leading firm typically starts at around $160,000, as it has since 2007, the firms say. But bonuses at many firms have fallen from as much as $65,000 since then. In addition, some firms occasionally paid "special bonuses" of as much as $50,000.

At least the finance people still have someone to look down on.

[WSJ. Pic: Shutterstock]