Santa still exists – at least if you’re an associate in New York. It’s Christmas bonus season in the States, and as we revealed on yesterday (9 December), Cravath Swaine & Moore – like Skadden – is pegging its associate bonuses to last year’s levels.

Cravath’s first year-qualified lawyers will be getting $17,500 (£10,000), second years $19,000 (£10,900), third and fourth years $24,000 (£13,800) and senior associates are gaining a $25,000 (£14,350) bonus.

We wouldn’t sniff at stocking fillers like these, but the whole business has always been hard for us Brits to fathom. The bonus culture – mimicked only partially in City law firms – is a nasty US calorific import, and one we can frankly do without. Tasty and all that, but can lead to unnecessary bloating.

Now, we know you love firing off email responses to Lawyer News Weekly, so we thought we’d set you some homework.

Below are 14 questions about 2003. We’ll be collating your answers and publishing the results in next week’s Grapevine. (All emails will of course be treated anonymously, but puffing your own firm or department will only invite ridicule.) The emailer with the most amusing responses will get something gorgeous in the post. Get writing…

1. Most overhyped law firm
2. Most convincing international expansion by a law firm
3. Least convincing international expansion by a law firm
4. Most pointless rebrand
5. Best law firm biscuits
6. The biggest legal news story
7. Best-performing law firm
8. Poorest-performing law firm
9. Your favourite restaurant
10. Your book of the year
11. Lennon or McCartney?
12. Christina or Britney?
13. The law you could most do without
14. Your lawyer of the year

Email your answers to