On Monday, we mentioned some of the difficulties deferred associates face when looking for the right public interest job. Today, AmLaw has an interesting piece on just how difficult it is for firms and law schools to find appropriate placements for 3Ls who will not be able to start with their firms in the fall:
Law firm are structuring their programs with differing requirements, covered costs, and degrees of involvement in the nonprofit job search. The deferrals themselves are required at some firms, including Morgan, Lewis & Bockius–the firm will bring its 2009 first years onboard in October, 2010. White & Case has announced delayed start dates into 2010 for 60 percent of its 2009 hires. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Latham & Watkins have announced an optional fall 2010 start date.
One of the most interesting aspects to this story is that we are seeing that “Biglaw” is not a monolithic collection of law firms. Each firm is different in ways that go far beyond normal law student concerns like “prestige” and “firm culture.”
Health insurance costs are a big concern, as Delany points out. The matter isn’t so simple, given that deferred lawyers technically are not yet employees of the firm, so coverage cannot be extended to these individuals. (Sidley Austin, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlet have existing nonprofit and fellowship programs that cover health insurance or COBRA benefits payments for the lawyers in these programs–the firms recently have announced that they will open up these fellowships to incoming first-year associates).
After the jump, it’s time for law school career services to earn their paychecks.
Law school career services are having to learn about all of these individual deferment programs on the fly:
An added burden also has been placed on law school career placement offices.
“To understand each program and respond to each student’s questions adds an additional layer of work for us,” says Irene Dorzback, assistant dean and director of the Office of Career Services at New York University School of Law. “The payouts are different, and what qualifies as public service is different. In some cases you can find your own host, and in others the firms have a preference for where you’ll work.”
One thing is abundantly clear: students who are looking for public interest jobs right now have a leg up on students who don’t yet know if they will be deferred or not. There are a lot of issue to work through, and the sooner you know, the better off you’ll be when it comes to getting the right one-year public interest job.