No Offers, Staff Attorneys / Discovery Attorneys, Summer Associates

Nationwide No Offer Watch: Squire Sanders
(SSD to SAs: Wannabe a staff attorney?)

squire snaders staff attorney offers.gifThe no-offer reports keep rolling in from our readers, but one tip about Squire, Sanders & Dempsey stopped us in our tracks:

[A summer associate] at Squire Sanders got offered a staff attorney position. Apparently one-third of the class got real offers, some got staff attorney offers, and the rest?

Staff attorney — i.e., a job with a significantly lower salary than an associate position, featuring endless document review and discovery work, and without any prospect of promotion to partnership. Is that a cold offer, or a coldcock?

Or is it “creative accounting” for purposes of reporting to NALP, which collects and publishes data about summer associate programs? Presumably Squire Sanders will count the staff attorney “offers” in the number of full-time employment offers made to summer associates that it reports to NALP. But bringing the summers on as staff attorneys rather than associates will save the firm a lot of money. This is one of the most creative ways of dealing with the downturn that we’ve come across.

Squire Sanders spokesperson Drez Jennings provided us with a prompt and direct response:

[W]e made offers to 76 percent of the summers, and no offers to 24 percent.

Ouch. No-offering a quarter of your class is already pretty harsh.

Jennings declined to comment on the staff attorney question (even though it was explicitly presented), leaving ATL readers to speculate on how many, if any, of Squire Sanders summer offers were for staff attorney positions.

More on Squire Sanders and staff attorneys, after the jump.

We have covered the trend of cold offers. Cold offers allow 3Ls to claim that they want to be interviewing again, as opposed to admitting that they have to be.

So long as the firm itself continues to claim that they gave offers to “76%” of their summers, does receiving a staff attorney offer accomplish the same thing? As it is, Squire Sanders no offered 24% of their class, which is already a high no-offer rate compared to some firms.

The real question is this: would you take a staff attorney offer at a Vault 100 firm, or roll the dice with 3L recruiting? It is difficult enough to work your way up to partner at one of these firms, but working your way up to associate was almost certainly not part of the plan for Squire Sanders’s 2008 summer class. Is there a career upside to taking their “offer?”

No offers, cold offers, and now staff attorney offers. We hope law school loan officers are paying attention.

Update: The firm has now clarified that only one summer associate received a staff attorney offer. See here.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of no offers

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