Harvard Law School seal logo.jpgDon’t get too close to any Ivory Tower in your town today. The news that Cravath is leaving the class of 2010 out of work for a year has sent monocles flying as students at top law schools learn a powerful lesson about free market capitalism.
Harvard Law School sent out a letter to all of its rising 3Ls in the wake of the Cravath announcement. It essentially warned them that you can’t trade in an HLS degree for food and shelter:

Dear Rising 3Ls:
We hope you are getting off to a great start in your summer jobs. We write to alert you about a situation that may require action on your part. As you know, many law firms deferred the start dates of class of 2009 associates from 2009 to 2010. Without clear indication that the economy will turn around by 2010, some firms are planning ahead and already notifying summer associates from the class of 2010 that their start dates are likely to be deferred until 2011 or later. See, e.g., Cravath and Skadden. Generally firms have been generous in providing fellowships or stipends to the class of 2009 given the surprise to that class, but firms may not provide such options to you in the class of 2010 because you have more advance notice about economic conditions. If you are at a law firm this summer and hope to return after graduation, you should ask yourself now what you might do to fill the 2010-2011 year if necessary. [Emphasis in the original.]

What should the class of 2010 do for post-graduate employment, “if necessary”? Stipends look like they are going to be less generous, so people might actually need to earn some money for a year.
So, what can you do with a law degree once Biglaw decides that they don’t want you? I hear law firms in Baghdad are booming right now.
Harvard has its own ideas, after the jump.


Panic button.JPGHarvard career services has the kind of advice we expect most career service professionals to be handing out this summer and fall:

One option we would like to highlight is a judicial clerkship, which conveniently tends to be for one year, is valued by the full spectrum of legal employers, and is a fantastic job in itself. You can find lots of background information in the clerkships part of the OCS website. Be sure to consider all types of clerkship opportunities, including those at state and specialty courts, because the competition is likely to be fierce this season.
It is not too late to jump into the clerkship application process. The first thing you would need to do is arrange any faculty recommendation letters as soon as possible. Even though we had an internal deadline in April for this step, many faculty members will be receptive to later requests. Also keep in mind that you can use summer employers or other folks as recommenders in addition to faculty members. See Recommendations Generally. After securing recommendations, the next steps would be submitting your resume to OCS for optional review and selecting judges by the end of July.

I sure hope nobody tuned out second semester 2L year once they secured a summer associate position. Grades seem like they matter now than ever before.
Any other advice? Perhaps HLS career services is just trying to knock HLS students out of a false sense of complacency?

We hope this alert prompts you to think ahead, plan appropriately, and take action as needed. The economy obviously presents special challenge to your class, and we want to help however we can.

Class of 2010, do you see that red button on the wall with a big “P” on it? That is the panic button. It can be easily distinguished from the easy button, which has already been removed from your grabbable area.
Earlier: Cravath Offers Voluntary Deferral to Class of 2009 — and Delays Class of 2010 a Full Year


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