Is Kirkland & Ellis dispensing down payments?

It’s bonus season at the large law firms and many other businesses and, after a lean 2009, the bucks seem to be flowing freely this year.

The Above the Law blog is buzzing about the bonuses being handed out at Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis: equal to or greater than 2X “Cravath scale” for more than half of Kirkland’s associates. That could translate to $70,000 or better for a 2003 law grad. Partner distributions will presumably be substantially in excess of those numbers. And many Kirkland associates will have spouses pulling in similar numbers this year.

Will some of those free-flowing dollars find their way into the real estate market early next year?