This article in the New York discusses how Skadden Arps has taken a bold step in this troubling economy: offering $80,000 to all of its associates worldwide and a year off. One of the associates, Heather Eisenlord is planning on taking the year off to teach English in Sri Lanka or bring solar power to the Himalayas.

This is not the only option on the table, as the firm is also trying to find pro bono work for its associates and others are attempting to pursue different avenues of work for a year, “So far, the majority of the lawyers are looking for worthwhile legal work, Skadden says, to keep them as competitive as possible; but yes, some will take the year off to spend time with their children or look after a sick relative. Someone’s planning to wrap up his Ph.D., someone else is looking into legal work for a news organization, and another associate will be joining Ms. Eisenlord on her round-the-world adventure.”

The fact that any of these options exist at all, however, can be pretty astonishing to most Americans.