We’ve reported that firms with “oversubscribed” summer classes are calling up 2Ls and encouraging them to not accept their 2009 summer associate offers. Unlike Akin Gump’s move, the tactic is a clever dodge around the NALP guidelines. As we understand it, firms are not committing these “cold offers” to email, instead using the telephone and avoiding a paper trail.
Career services departments are trying to cope with this new law firm tactic. Some Michigan students received this email from their career services dean:
Hi. It is my understanding that you have an offer from White and Case in New York. After talking to contacts in the New York legal market, it appears that White and Case may have over-hired for next summer and has a particularly large class. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to take another offer if you have one.
A spokesman for White & Case told the Law Blog: “We don’t know, honestly, why a law school career services office would send out these letters. No on has talked to us about the situation, and we’ve certainly not encouraged anyone to send out letters to students.”
Notice how White & Case did not say “we intend to honor every summer associate offer we’ve made.”
We have been consistently encouraging 2Ls to accept their offers sooner rather than later. Many career services departments have echoed that advice. White & Case joins Proskauer as one of the firm that has been “outed” as telling people that they should look elsewhere for offers, but we suspect that many firms are doing this.
After the jump, speculation about other firms.
Michigan isn’t the only law school warning their students about these cold summer offers. Northeastern School of Law sent around an email earlier this week:
As you know, the current economic situation has also affected the legal job market. It has come to our attention that at least one Boston law firm called students who had 2009 summer associate offers and told them that they had made too many offers and urged the students to accept offers from other firms if they had them. Some law schools are recommending that students not wait until the expiration of their offers to make a decision. If you are a student who has outstanding summer associate offers, we urge you to come and speak with Career Services to discuss the best course of action in these uncertain times.
Any ideas which Boston firm they could be referring to?
ATL has received many unconfirmed reports that firms are urging 2Ls to accept elsewhere. Some firms creating a lot of buzz are Dickstein Shapiro and Locke Lord. This email from tipster, about Morgan Lewis, is representative of other reports we’ve received:
The DC office of Morgan Lewis is calling all candidates with outstanding offers for summer associate positions. The head of recruiting said that they have reached their target number for the summer class. She said that she was calling students to let them know that if they exceed their target number that they will not be able to guarantee offers to all summers. The recruiter stated that she would like to pass the information along to students with outstanding offers so they can make an informed decision.
Keeping these cold offers off email seems to be a strategy firms are employing. Phone calls give the firms the option of deniability, while still getting the message across that 2Ls should look elsewhere.
We don’t know how many firms are doing this, but it is happening.
So, once again: accept your offers!
Dear 2L: Think Twice About White & Case’s Summer Offer [WSJ Law Blog]