How are firms that have deferred incoming associates going to deal with different classes of associates all showing up to the firm at the same time?
Most firms have been burying their heads in the sand, hoping that the green shoots will blossom into mature plantings of economic growth, obviating this problem. Things will go back to the way they were in 2006, and there will be more than enough work for everyone. NY to 190!!!
But that’s not very realistic, is it?
Orrick — which isn’t afraid to innovate, as reflected in their recent revamp of associate compensation and promotion — has come up with an answer to this conundrum. You might like their approach or you might not, but at least give them credit for having the courage to confront the issue.
Check out the memo, and opine in the comments, after the jump.
Update (11:25 AM): Please note that the original post did not contain a complete version of the memo. We now have the full memo, which we’ve posted after the jump.
UPDATED AT 11:25 AM
ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE — MEMORANDUM — ON-CAMPUS RECRUITING
To: Law School Deans and Assistant Deans
From: Stephen Venuto, On-Campus Hiring Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Date: July 8, 2009
Re: Orrick On-Campus Recruiting
Orrick has made two decisions regarding its on-campus recruiting efforts:
* First, Orrick will be making its current class of summer associates eligible only for offers to join Orrick in January 2012– i.e., a one-year deferral accompanied by a fellowship program.
* Second, Orrick will be shifting its fall on-campus recruiting efforts from the normal late summer and early fall time-frame to November 15th, 2009 through March, 2010.
Forecasting the need for new attorneys years in advance of their arrival is, even in the best of times, a challenging task. In recent months it has become extraordinarily difficult. In response to difficult global economic conditions, Orrick, like many firms, deferred its incoming Fall 2009 class to January and March of 2010, and offered fellowships to those who chose to defer their start dates further to January 2011. Our entire January 2010 group is planning on joining us as scheduled. Virtually all of the associates slated to start in March 2010 have pursued and become engaged in the fellowship program, and, as a result, will be arriving at Orrick in January 2011. The fellowship program has been a terrific success. We are gratified that so many of our past summer associates have taken advantage of the fellowship program, and we look forward to their arrival at Orrick in January 2011.
In the absence of an adjustment, however, our current 2009 summer associate class would be scheduled to join Orrick at virtually the same time as the prior summer associate Orrick fellows. This timing has created an unfortunate bottleneck of talented law students hoping to join Orrick at the same time. With the fall on-campus recruiting season about to begin, and with many law students needing to make plans and commitments for their future, we knew we had to deal with the issue promptly. Therefore, we decided it was in the best interests of our existing summer associates and fellows, our upcoming new associate classes as well as those students we plan to recruit in the future to make and announce both of these decisions now.
We have committed significant energy and resources to building relationships with the nation’s top law schools. We expect Orrick to continue to grow through the addition of talented law students, and for that reason we expect to continue to build our relationships with law schools in the coming months and years. We believe that communicating our plans candidly with you at the earliest possible opportunity is part and parcel of that relationship. This memo outlines in more detail our approach to recruiting the law school classes of 2010 and 2011. We would be more than happy to discuss all of this with you should you have further questions. Please do not hesitate to contact me, any members of our management team or any of our local office hiring partners.
Orrick’s Current Summer Associate Class – The Class of 2010
We are extremely pleased with how our current summer associates are performing. They are a terrific group.
Due to the 2009 fellowship program, we expect that the offers we make to the summer associates of 2009 will be deferred by one year. We expect that 2009 summer associates who receive offers of employment can join Orrick in January 2012 after completion of an Orrick-coordinated fellowship program.
As we are only a few weeks into the summer program, we do not yet know which or how many of our 2009 summer associates will receive offers. We do know that we want to create as many full-time associate employment opportunities as possible for our 2009 summer associates. We also hope that each and every summer associate who receives an offer from Orrick decides to accept it and join us in January 2012 at the end of the fellowship program. We will work closely with the 2009 (law school class of 2010) summer associates to encourage, reassure and assist with their decisions.
Future Orrick Summer Associates – Class of 2011
We believe the law school class of 2011 is an excellent and highly motivated group. Inquiries and sign-ups for Orrick interviews and events have been overwhelmingly high, and we thank those students for their interest in Orrick.
We remain committed, however, to keeping open our one-year deferred offers to our current, 2009 summer associate class (the class of 2010) until the NALP deadline of November 15, 2009. This means that we will not know how many spots will be available in our summer of 2010 class until at least that date in November.
Therefore, we believe it would be irresponsible to recruit a class for the summer of 2010 – a class that would normally join us in late 2011 or early 2012, the same time our current class of summer associates would be joining us after the one year deferral – until we know how many of our 2009 summer associates accept their one-year deferred offers. We need to prioritize the interests of our current Orrick summer associates over the law students whom we have not yet met and who would otherwise be competing for the same positions.
For these reasons we have decided to shift our on-campus recruiting efforts from the normal time-frame to November 15, 2009 through March of 2010. After the November 15th NALP deadline, we will know how many of our current summer associates accept their deferred offers, and we will be able to better assess our needs for recruiting 2L associates for a 2010 summer program. We expect to reach out to 2L and possibly 1L students during this shifted time frame to meet our summer 2010 recruiting needs.
Although we are shifting our interviewing efforts to later in the cycle, we do intend to participate in the recruiting process during the Fall in a number of ways. We expect to continue to recruit actively, and for that reason it is critical for us to maintain a relationship with the law schools and law students. We will conduct an active outreach program during the on-campus interview season, including open mock interviews, group coaching sessions, resume review and critiques, office open houses and other events. We will also actively seek out ways to contribute our previously scheduled hotel space and interview time slots to governmental or charitable organizations wherever possible.
Finally, we intend to work with law schools, other law firms and NALP on a long-term plan to encourage recruiting processes industry wide that maximize the chances of avoiding recruiting situations like the ones all firms have experienced in the last several months. We will remain an active participant and partner of each of the law schools that we have traditionally recruited from, and we look forward to deepening our relationship with them through this process.
We know these times are especially difficult for law students and the career placement offices at law schools. It is a difficult time for the legal industry as a whole. Nevertheless, we look forward to meeting and working with the next generations of lawyers in the coming months and years. We believe that despite all of the uncertainty in the legal profession, exciting change is taking place that will provide everyone who practices law a more rewarding and more fulfilling long-term career.
Again, we would be more than happy to discuss all of this with you should you have further questions. Please do not hesitate to contact me, any members of our management team or any of our local office hiring partners.
– END –
Earlier: Orrick Ends Lockstep