Pro Bono, Public Interest, Summer Associates

Skadden Offers a Voluntary Deferral Option

Skadden logo.JPGIs there not enough to go around, even at Skadden? Maybe so. The firm just sent around an internal email announcing the expansion of the firm’s “Sidebar” program. For the uninitiated, a tipster describes the Sidebar program:

Sidebar allows attorneys to take extended time from the Firm to pursue personal interests while maintaining a connection to the Firm.

Spending an extended period of time away from the firm? That sounds about right in today’s market. The firm-wide memo explains the reasoning behind expanding Sidebar:

In response to the current economic climate and the decreased demand for legal services, we are offering a supplement to our existing Sidebar program. During this period of diminished development opportunities, the program affords associates and counsel in US offices in good-standing the ability to pursue personal or professional interests for a one-year period with the option to return to the Firm at the end of that period. We are also offering a similar program to our class of 2009 incoming associates who may wish to defer their arrival until the fall of 2010.

After the jump, we look at what Skadden is offering to entice associates to take themselves out of the game for a year:


Here is what is waiting for attorneys who voluntarily “un-employ” themselves from Skadden for a year:

Attorneys participating in the program will receive one third of their current annual salary in a single lump sum payment. During an attorney’s participation in the program, the Firm will also reimburse outstanding law school student loans (if any) at their current repayment rate to a maximum of $1,000 a month and COBRA costs. Although not employed by the Firm during the program, participants are expected to remain current in their CLE requirements, and are welcome to attend approved local Firm-sponsored CLE programs and other appropriate events. Fees for an attorney’s primary bar registration will be reimbursed during the program. Determination of class status upon return will be based upon the nature of the work done during the program.

Update (5:39 PM): In addition, we hear that Skadden is cutting its summer program to 11 weeks.

So … what happens if Skadden doesn’t get enough participation in this program?

Sorry, here’s a better question: What. The ****. Is Happening?????

On second thought, don’t answer either of those questions. If you don’t say it aloud, maybe it’ll go away.

Read the full memo below. And, you know, buy canned goods and ammo.

Update (4/13/09): Here’s some follow up on the Sidebar program, including information about how many people expressed interest.

SKADDEN ARPS — MEMORANDUM — SIDEBAR PROGRAM

In response to the current economic climate and the decreased demand for legal services, we are offering a supplement to our existing Sidebar program. During this period of diminished development opportunities, the program affords associates and counsel in US offices in good-standing the ability to pursue personal or professional interests for a one-year period with the option to return to the Firm at the end of that period. We are also offering a similar program to our class of 2009 incoming associates who may wish to defer their arrival until the fall of 2010.

For those interested in using the program to assist public interest organizations, which are facing tremendous challenges in this economic environment, the Firm is enlisting the help of a strong network of Skadden Fellows to target organizations that would welcome a Skadden attorney. You might consider academic institutions, foundations, governmental groups, or other personal interests. We encourage you to be creative in your approach. The designated partners listed below are available to discuss your ideas and to direct you to potential organizations that have been identified. In addition, we will be posting information from interested organizations on the Slate.

Attorneys participating in the program will receive one third of their current annual salary in a single lump sum payment. During an attorney’s participation in the program, the Firm will also reimburse outstanding law school student loans (if any) at their current repayment rate to a maximum of $1,000 a month and COBRA costs. Although not employed by the Firm during the program, participants are expected to remain current in their CLE requirements, and are welcome to attend approved local Firm-sponsored CLE programs and other appropriate events. Fees for an attorney’s primary bar registration will be reimbursed during the program. Determination of class status upon return will be based upon the nature of the work done during the program.

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