Way back in June, Above the Law heard rumblings about issues regarding the incoming first-year class at Baker & McKenzie. The class had already been deferred until January 2010, but in June some tipsters reported that Baker was “rescinding” offers. Others claimed that the firm was simply “strongly encouraging” incoming associates to consider alternatives.
Still, some associates poised to start at Baker hadn’t heard anything at all. At the time, we brought these reports to the attention of Baker & McKenzie management. In June, the firm said:
As we’ve already communicated, we have had to make some difficult decisions in a difficult economy. But we haven’t taken the actions you suggest, and our start dates remain January (and, in some cases, earlier).
But that was back in the heady days of early summer. Now, as autumn approaches, Baker seems to be preparing its incoming class for economic reality. This morning, tipsters reported that deferral extensions — or worse — were coming down on at least some members of Baker’s would-be incoming class:
Last night at 10:30, we received an email from the [redacted] simpleton, asking to set up a phone call for this morning. Phone call from hiring partner was as follows:
Economy blah blah blah limited amount of work blah blah blah majority of you will not be starting in January. Starting in January, 5k stipend plus benefits for up to six months. at ANY time during six months, MAY get a call from b&m, have 1-2 weeks to report to work, but absent a major bump in work, not likely to happen. If after June, no call from b&m, “the relationship will end.”
Twelve of 18 incoming associates got this lovely treatment
“The relationship will end” does not sound promising. After the jump, Baker responds to these reports.
We again reached out to Baker McKenzie. The firm acknowledged that it had reconsidered its position with respect to its incoming class of associates:
As the Firm remains financially strong, we are continuing with our plans in North America to start more than 30 incoming 2009 new associates in January 2010. In a few cases we have already started associates sooner, and in a few cases we have deferred associates to June 2010 and offered a stipend plus medical benefits while we continue to monitor our need for additional resources.
That sound you just heard was probably a group of Baker associates singing in unison:
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
Congratulations to those who can start; good luck to those who can’t.
Earlier: Baker McKenzie Profits Per Partner Tumble. More Outsourcing in the Future?
Proskauer Rose and Mintz Levin Kick Off ‘Deferment Extension’ Season