Biglaw, Start Dates

An Update on Start Dates: DLA Piper, Pillsbury Winthrop

DLA Piper logo Above the Law blog.jpgThese aren’t the best of times for Biglaw, in case you hadn’t noticed. The most recent evidence: staff and lawyer layoffs at Sonnenschein, news that we broke last night (and might write more about, so feel free to email us with info).
But here is a tiny sliver of good news. In response to our open call for information about delayed start dates for incoming associates, which some law firms have been using to reduce expenses, we received very little.
First, we learned that DLA Piper has instituted a nationwide start date of October 1. This isn’t terribly exciting, since October 1 isn’t that late. Other firms that have announced delayed start dates have gone for late October or even January.
The change also doesn’t appear to be economically motivated. From DLA spokesperson Jason Costa:

The changes were made to provide a uniform start date across all our offices. The new collective date allows us to have a uniform orientation process. We think it will also be good for the associates, since the shared start date will probably lead to a tighter knit class.

Our tipsters mentioned the availability of pay advances if needed, which Costa confirmed: “We are more than happy to give pay advances to any incoming associates who had planned to start earlier than October, and who may need the extra cash.”
Second, we received more details about Pillsbury Winthrop, which previously said it was spacing out start dates “over several months.”
Read the rest, after the jump.

From a Pillsbury tipster:

They gave us a choice of three start dates: October 1, November 15, or January 5. With the November start, they offered a $5k bonus, and with the January start, they offered a $10k bonus. Both bonuses could be combined with an extra $10k interest-free loan, and both were on top of the $10k salary advance promised in our offer letter.

Supposedly this is a firm-wide policy and is good for all 80 incoming first-years. Also supposedly it’s not because of the economy, although nobody believes that.

The letter they sent repeated three times that our jobs were safe and suggested that some might like to volunteer for a campaign in the fall. (I thought that was funny, but I’m actually considering it.)

Health care starts October 1 no matter which date we chose. They said they were trying to split the class and have one third start on each date.

So that’s the latest in start date news. If you have more, feel free to contact us.
Earlier: Nationwide Start Date Watch: K&L Gates

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