Deferral Stipend, Start Dates, Summer Associates

Weil Gotshal Defers Current Summer Associates to 2011 or 2012

Weil.gifBig news from Weil Gotshal today. The firm previously deferred its incoming associates to January 2010, with the option of deferring until January 2011 (with a $75,000 stipend).
In recognition of the fact that it will have some of the class of 2009 starting in January 2011, the firm is offering current summers — i.e., the class of 2010 — the option of deferring until January 2012. Above the Law received the following statement from Weil Gotshal:

Earlier today, we informed our 2009 summer associates of the following:
* We are offering each summer associate who receives an offer of permanent employment at the conclusion of this year’s Summer Program the option of deferring his or her start date from January 2011 to January 2012.
* Each incoming associate electing to defer will receive a $75,000 stipend and health care benefits. In order to receive this stipend, the deferring associate must spend 1,000 hours during the deferral year performing some form of Firm-approved public service work in the US or abroad, including interning for a judge, or working for a Firm client.
* An incoming associate may decide to travel or take a paid position during the deferral year. The Firm will only pay the stipend to those people doing public service work. However, the Firm will provide health care benefits to all deferring associates.
* As we did with the successful deferral program for the class of 2009 associates, we will assist those who elect to defer with identifying public service placements, clerkships, and client opportunities.

The earliest current summers can start at Weil is January 2011 (and that is of course dependent on whether they receive an offer from the firm). But the option to defer until 2012 is even more evidence that the class of 2010 could be worse off than the class of 2009.
Don’t even get me started on the class of 2011.
More details from the firm statement, after the jump.

Back in the spring, when Weil Gotshal deferred some of its incoming class of first years to 2011, the firm promised incoming associates that there would be a job waiting for them in 2011 if they took the deferral. At the time, firm chairman Stephen J. Dannhauser told incoming first years:

A number of you have asked whether you will have a position as an associate at the firm in January 2011 if you defer your start date. I would personally like to assure you that if you defer your start date, you will have a position with Weil Gotshal in January 2011.

We understand that the promise still stands. But perhaps keeping that promise forced the firm to try to push back some current summers all the way to 2012. According to the statement provided by Weil:

Please be assured that the Firm is performing well and our balanced platform has helped us remain strong, even in this challenging economy. However, we are still experiencing the exceptionally low rate of associate attrition, accompanied by large classes of junior associates, that prompted us to implement the deferral program for the class of 2009. Accordingly, given the anticipated needs of the Firm for January 2011, the Firm is now offering the voluntary deferral program to the current summer class to counterbalance the overall lack of associate attrition.

Would you take a deferral that required you to wait a year and a half after law school graduation before you can start working at the firm? Do you think that Weil management can promise you a job during the summer of 2009 that they will be able to honor in January 2012?
These are tough choices for the class of 2010. What would you do? Take our reader poll below.

Earlier: Weil Gotshal Incoming First year Follow Up
Weil Gotshal Almost Sets the Market With Incoming First Year Associate Deferral Dollars

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