As regular Above the Law readers know, there are a few firms that are offering “go away” money to their incoming associates. The deal, like ones at Stroock and Pillsbury, is that the firm will give incoming associates a large payment instead of a job, and the incoming associate will quietly go peruse other employment options.
We haven’t really gotten a sense of how many would-be associates would actually consider this offer — until now. Fenwick & West offered its incoming associates $60,000 to stay away. According to our sources, around 40 percent of Fenwick’s 2009 class took the money.
But there is a catch; there’s always a catch.
Details after the jump.
A tipster shared some overall numbers about Fenwick’s incoming class:
Fenwick just finished buying out the ’09 grads who were supposed to start this fall. We all just received our $60,000 check (minus taxes). This is on top of the $15,000 summer stipend we got.
In case you’re curious, they had 38 summer associates in ’08. They gave offers to 34. Of these, only 24 accepted their offers. Then, out of these 24, they gave buyout offers to at least 10 people (maybe 12). Nine of these 10 people accepted the buyout.
When Stroock and Pillsbury offered their incoming associates a buyout, it wasn’t at all clear that firms would be revoking offers to incoming associates outright. But now we know that offer revocation is a real possibility for the class of 2009, so it makes even more sense that some people would voluntarily take the money and run.
However, at other firms offering go away money, the offer was made to the entire class. At Fenwick it looks like the option was targeted to a subset of attorneys in the class. If you were one of the attorneys targeted with the departure offer, would your choice still be voluntary?
According to our tipster, the incoming associates who were targeted received an offer they couldn’t refuse:
They said the buyouts were optional, but when someone tried to decline, they told her to reconsider.
Fenwick did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But hey, $60,000 — on top of a $15,000 summer stipend — is still a lot of money. Especially if you do the smart thing and move to Guatemala. That kind of hard currency will go far down there.
Earlier: Pillsbury: Let’s Try This Whole ‘Voluntary Departure’ Thing One More Time
Stroock Offers $75,000 in Stay Away Money
Incoming Associates, Some of You Aren’t Going to Be Working at Arent Fox