Shearman logo.JPGShearman & Sterling is the latest firm to ask incoming first years to voluntarily delay their start dates. According to a firm wide memo that went out today, the firm is offering $65,000 (plus the standard bar stipend) for incoming associates who are willing to start in September of 2010.

But there’s an interesting wrinkle. According to the memo:

Incoming Class of 2009 associates who choose to participate in the Delayed Start Program will have an offer to join the firm as a first year associate in the Class of 2010, with the option to start on the first start dates for Class of 2010 associates.

So, officially now, Shearman is asking people not just to give up a year of Biglaw salary, they are also asking them to lose a full class year. That will affect their raises (assuming those will still exist at some point), bonus payouts, and put even the superstars a year behind in their quest for partnership.

According to NALP, Shearman made 128 offers to its 129 participants in the 2008 summers program out of its New York office. This year, the firm expects just 54 summers. But it certainly looks like those 54 people are now directly competing against a significant number of the 128 people the firm now hopes will defer until 2010.

I think it’s safe to assume that the firm doesn’t want 182 people starting in September 2010, so something will have to give.

More details from the Shearman memo, after the jump.


For 2009 incoming first years who might be thinking “screw it, I’m starting now,” the firm isn’t being all that encouraging:

We have not yet determined the start dates for incoming Class of 2009 associates who choose to not participate in the Delayed Start Program, but, as we have previously informed you, the earliest start date will not be before December 2009.

There is a lot of that going around.

Whether or not you are going to take the deferral program, the firm seems to be making one thing clear: it is in your interest to pass the bar the first time out.

Other than in special circumstances, we expect all Class of 2009 associates to take the July 2009 bar exam and have passed the bar before joining the firm. Participants in the Delayed Start Program will not be employees of the firm during the deferral year.

With some percentage of 182 people competing for a September 2010 start date, I wouldn’t want to be the guy that had to take the bar twice.

Finally, you have to love the kicker on the Shearman memo:

We encourage you to consider the extraordinary opportunity this program provides to spend a year providing valuable public service or pursuing other personal interests.

Good luck to all the deferred Shearman first years and incoming summer associates.

Read the full memo below.

SHEARMAN & STERLING — MEMO -DEFERRED START DATES

Delayed Start Program

In light of current economic conditions and the reduced activity in some of our practices, the

firm is facing the challenge that it will be unable to offer all our incoming Class of 2009

associates the quality and breadth of work that we feel is necessary to properly train new

lawyers. As a result, we are offering a Delayed Start Program to our incoming Class of 2009

associates that will allow you to defer your start date with the firm until 2010 while you pursue

public interest, academic or personal development opportunities.

Incoming Class of 2009 associates who choose to participate in the Delayed Start Program will

have an offer to join the firm as a first year associate in the Class of 2010, with the option to start

on the first start dates for Class of 2010 associates. We have not yet determined the start dates

for incoming Class of 2009 associates who choose to not participate in the Delayed Start

Program, but, as we have previously informed you, the earliest start date will not be before

December 2009.

We strongly encourage incoming Class of 2009 associates who choose to participate in the

Delayed Start Program to pursue public interest activities during the deferral year. There are a

variety of exciting opportunities with community associations, pro bono legal organizations, not-for-profit groups, foundations and governmental and non-governmental organizations available

to law school graduates. For those interested in these types of opportunities, we will provide

assistance in finding the right position for you. Alternatively, you may use the deferral year for

academic pursuits, such as degree programs or complementary course work, or to pursue

personal development interests.

Participants in the Delayed Start Program will receive a stipend of $65,000. In addition, the firm

will pay for a bar admission preparation course and reimburse you for expenses associated with

taking the California, Washington, D.C. or New York bar exam and gaining admission to the

appropriate state bar and bar registration. Other than in special circumstances, we expect all

Class of 2009 associates to take the July 2009 bar exam and have passed the bar before joining

the firm. Participants in the Delayed Start Program will not be employees of the firm during the deferral year.

Although our Delayed Start Program is open to all of our incoming Class of 2009 associates,

there are only a limited number of placements available. Please call [Redacted] by May 1, 2009 to let us know whether you would like to participate in the Delayed Start Program. Participants in the Delayed Start Program will be selected as requests are received and informed promptly thereafter.

We encourage you to consider the extraordinary opportunity this program provides to spend a

year providing valuable public service or pursuing other personal interests.

Please call or e-mail us or any of the individuals listed on the following page with any questions

about the program.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of start dates


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