Arent Fox, Biglaw, Deferral Stipend, Layoffs, Start Dates

Incoming Associates, Some of You Aren’t Going to Be Working at Arent Fox

Arent Fox logo.JPGWe have done a lot of reporting on firms that have deferred their incoming class, and then extended the deferral period. At some firms, it has been an indefinite deferral extension.
So give Arent Fox a little bit of credit. Instead of continuing to string the class of 2009 along, the firm has cried “no más” and just revoked offers to several of its incoming associates.
Arent Fox has confirmed to Above the Law that it has decided to revoke offers to some 2009 graduates who have not yet started at the firm. The firm is giving them $20,000 for the inconvenience of believing they had already successfully secured post-graduate employment.
Maybe Arent Fox read Morning Docket today. We linked to a story in the Atlantic that asked why firms were doing deferrals instead of revoking offers outright.
There has been much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by would-be Arent Fox first years on Facebook this morning. But we think this comment on a status update captures the general feeling:

I just sent them an envelope with powder in it. Don’t worry, I wore a ski mask when I walked to the mailbox so they can’t trace me.

Please, Arent Fox friends, do not blow your $20K on terrorist activities. Instead stock up on Ramen and a buy a good sleeping bag. It’s going to be a long winter.
UPDATE: We assume the Facebook commenter was joking. Clearly. The wearing a ski mask to the mailbox line is clear parody.
FURTHER UPDATE: Arent Fox Chairman Marc Fleischaker shared some numbers with the BLT:

In all, Fleischaker said, about 12 incoming associates were affected. Washington, which has the firm’s largest office, had “about eight,” New York had “between two and three,” and Los Angeles had one, Fleischaker said. The news was first reported on Above the Law.

Read Arent Fox’s full statement after the jump.

After a careful review and consideration of the firm’s anticipated workload and client needs, and an evaluation of our legal staffing needs for junior associates at this time, the firm has reluctantly concluded that it would have to withdraw offers of employment made to some — not all — very highly qualified members of our incoming associate class. The firm sincerely regrets having to make this decision. The firm does believe however that the approach it has taken today is better than indefinite postponement of an associate’s projected start date.
Even with the withdrawal of these several offers of employment the number of junior associates joining our firm this year is commensurate with the number that has joined in past years. We had a larger than usual 2008 summer class, and as we said, the firm has determined that it simply cannot accommodate those higher than usual numbers at the this time.
Of course it’s possible that our needs will change, and we will develop a greater need for junior associates. Should this occur we will contact individuals on a case by case basis, to determine their availability.
In consideration of the disappointment that this development may generate, the firm is providing a $20,000 stipend to assist in transition to other employment.
Again the firm has undertaken this decision with the greatest reluctance and regret. We wish those affected the very best of luck in securing alternative employment. They are each highly qualified individuals and the firm wants to express its deepest appreciation for their patience and understanding during a difficult process and economic climate that has impacted the legal profession on a national basis.

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