Thanks to the worsening economy, law firms don’t have enough work for the lawyers already on their payrolls. Some firms have decided to save money by having incoming first-year associates start later than originally planned. What’s the point of bringing new kids on board, at starting salaries of $160,000 each, if you don’t have enough work to give them?
The latest Biglaw shop to push back start dates: K&L Gates. The original firm-wide start date was September 15; the new start date is October 20.
We contacted K&L Gates for comment. The firm’s director of recruiting, Roz Pitts, explained that the change was made not for any economic reason, but due to “crazy scheduling.” She explained that the firm’s partner retreat in Phoenix is taking place in early October, and they didn’t want the first-years to start work only to have the entire partnership disappear a few weeks later. She added that the firm stands by all its offers — i.e., no offers have been rescinded — and that all incoming associates will be notified of the start date change by today. (Some offices started notifying associates on Friday, which is when we learned of this change.)
But even if K&L Gates were making this change for economic reasons, would there be any shame in that? Other prominent law firms have already announced postponed start dates:
2. Thacher Proffitt & Wood: the start date for non-litigation first-years has been pushed back to October 20.
3. Thelen Reid: start dates for first-year associates pushed back from September 2008 to January 2009.
Do you know of a Biglaw shop that has announced it’s pushing back start dates? If so, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
P.S. When it comes to start dates, maybe there’s no way to please everyone. Back in February, some Sidley Austin associates complained about excessively early start dates.