If you haven't checked out the massive number crunching that's going on over at Law Shucks, you probably should.
The blog uses compiled layoff data (the Layoff Tracker) to chart the decline of the legal industry in a graphical way that's easy for everyone who is doped up on Xanax to understand.
Couple the tracker with the summer associate survey results from our sister publication The American Lawyer, and you've got an easy way to back up the following general statement: summers are happy to be at firms that haven't done layoffs.
I've borrowed a few screencaps to show you below, but be sure to check out the full post here.
The top 10 firms according to summer associate satisfaction, of which only two have done attorney layoffs:
And the top 10 firms according to Law Shucks' layoff data, contrasted with their ranking among summers:
We here at The Shark will have more from the American Lawyer Summer Associates Survey throughout this week.
I've been working on updating the 2009 start date deferral table (not to be confused with the 2010 table) with all of the recent outpouring of info on start date deferral extensions and offer revocations.
A lot of firms are pushing would-be associates back even more (we're now at, like, full body's length, rather than just arm's length). Some notables: Arent Fox, Chadbourne & Parke, Baker & McKenzie... the list goes on.
Check out the table, which I'll endeavor to keep updated for as long as this "season" lasts. Please also email me with any updates, corrections, or thoughts of your own.
In case you didn't notice, yesterday was Skadden Offer Day. The firm, responding to changes in OCI schedules at schools across the country, issued all of its offers in one day, regardless of office or campus.
I was skeptical of this tactic, and thought I smelled a ploy to get students to accept other offers, therefore limiting the Skadden pool to accommodate its shrinking summer class sizes.
"...the firm says it is happy with the results. In fact, fewer 2Ls than usual turned down Skadden offers because they had already committed to another firm, says Howard Ellin, Skadden's hiring partner.
The firm managed to just barely escape losing all of the top law school talent to other firms, by carefully scheduling the offer day.
"Industry guidelines mandate that firms give candidates 45 days to decide whether to accept an offer. For an offer to have expired before Skadden Offer Day, a firm would have had to extend the offer in early August--before on-campus interviewing started at most schools."
Well played, Skadden. You scheduled your big holiday early enough to manage to hold on to the T14 kids, but late enough to ditch the more mediocre talent that snapped up the first offer made! You laugh in the face of death, don't you?
The firm, after informing all its summers of their fates, offered this further explanation of its firm-wide decision:
"Firmwide hiring partner Eric Kraeutler said there were 102 eligible 2Ls across the country in this year's summer program. Of that group, 28, or 27.5 percent, were given offers to start as first-year associates in the fall of 2011 -- a year later than would normally be the case given the deferrals of the 2009 first-year class until the fall of 2010."
Never fear, no-offerees. Morgan Lewis is stating it will provide a letter for you to show other prospective employer that it's not personal. This reminds me of that CarFax commercial, with the "note" from the previous owner, ensuring everyone that everything is all good with the beater.
Unfortunate. Sign of the times. You know the drill.
I hope the Mayer Brown kids aren't laughing at the Morgan Lewis kids right now.
Our sister publication out of Philadelphia, The Legal Intelligencer, has an article up (reg. req.) on the Dechert no offers you might have heard about earlier in the day on Above the Law.
To make a long-ish story short, the firm has made offers to 50% of its 2009 summer class. The remaining half have been informed that they'll have to wait until January 2010 to find out if they've got a spot at the firm.
The implications of this are pretty extensive, especially when couple with ATL's assertion that Dechert is going to be actively recruiting 3Ls.
Gina Passerella of TLI has yet another angle:
Of the 20 or so firms she is tracking in and around the area, Lennon said only four have given offers so far. Large law firms typically want to give offers to summer associates as quickly as they can once completing evaluations and assessing practice area needs, she said, because they then have to begin recruiting on campus for next summer’s class. They want the students who received offers in the summer to act as advocates during the fall recruiting season, Lennon said.
With some firms not hiring for next summer and others questioning the lead time between hiring summer associates and bringing them in as full-time attorneys two years later, firms are taking their time this year.
"Now, here in the real world in 2009, I think firms generally are going to wait as long as they can to make these decisions," Lennon said.
So what's the deal, here? Playing current summers against their law school compatriots, in a fight to the death over an offer? I think ATL got it right: Dechert is trying to trade up.
From a National Law Journal commentary on fall OCI:
One of Northwestern's fearless leaders, William Chamberlain, assistant dean of law career strategy and placement, has the following nugget of wisdom for all you 2Ls entering what will no doubt be an interesting recruiting season:
"...accept your offer quickly. The key is to get a job for next summer. Smart students will not rely on NALP's 45-day guideline but rather accept their offers as soon as humanly possible. From the school side, we have dealt with all sorts of reactions by firms to the economy and are urging our students to be risk-averse. Any sense of entitlement will be fatal this fall."
Be grateful! Be conservative! Be inhumanly fast, if humanly possible! Be BigLaw.
True to 2009 form, I'm relaying some bad news. Above the Law has broken some more for law students and recent grads:
Proskauer Rose is extending its 2009 class deferment, at least in its New York office. The firm, which already deferred incoming associates to March 2010, is hitting the pause button all the way to November 2010 now. This is, coincidentally, also when the 2010 class is supposed to be starting. LOL ?
Mintz Levin has deferred half of its incoming class to April 2010 and half of it to January 2011. The latter group will be offered a stipend.
Our sister publication, The AmLaw Daily, also has some great news of its own. Skadden has elected to cut its 2010 summer associate class in half, and has changed its "recruiting process" by making all its offers on one day in late September (rather than at the tail end of the program, as most firms do).
I'd say this seems like a cold offer-esque ploy to get students to take other offers first, but, really, how many offers can rising 3Ls be expecting to get next summer? -3 each?
Those lucky enough to land spots in Skadden's 2010 summer class will receive those offers on the same day--Sept. 22, which the firm has dubbed "Skadden Offer Day." The firm will continue to give those who receive offers 45 days to evaluate them in compliance with informal guidelines set by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP).
Skadden Offer Day! I'm envisioning the Hallmark cards now.
I've added a few more firms to the 2010 summer program/offer table. Among them: Howard Rice and Loeb & Loeb, both of which have canceled their summer programs entirely. The latter went whole hog and canceled its summer program "indefinitely." Whoa! New trend? Possibly.
In the meantime, check out how many of the firms on the list have canceled their programs outright. I'm bad at math, but it looks like a large percentage. Are we witnessing the death of the summer associate right in front of our eyes?
Paul Hastings has announced, according to Above the Law, that it will be making offers to approximately 75% of its current summer class. Of those offers, some associates will start in 2010, but others will be deferred to January 2011.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman is scaling back its summer 2010 program, and will host one third the students it usually does, the firm said Friday. And, because it hosted so many students in San Francisco the past couple of summers, it’s not sure how many, if any, it will bring on next year.
You may have read something about this on ATL, which reported that the program on the West Coast was cancelled. While the firm says it hasn’t yet made a decision, it doesn’t look like there’s much hope.
Pillsbury had 50 summers nationwide this year, while next year it expects to bring on a much reduced class, about 15 to 17 students, according to a firm statement.
“Although it is true that our efforts will be focused and considerably more extensive in NY, DC and Houston, it is inaccurate to say that we have ‘canceled’ our program for SF,” the statement said.
“Rather, because we had comparatively larger summer classes in San Francisco in both summers 2008 and 2009 programs, we need to learn how many of those from the 2009 summer class to whom we are about to give offers will be accepting on the before we can determine how many, if any, 2010 summer associates we will need in California.”
For more information on other firms who are canceling programs and deferring current summers, check out our table.