If Kanye West talked about this past fall recruiting season, he’d probably say: “Biglaw doesn’t care about the NALP people.” This fall, we saw firms give the suggested 45-day open offer period an extended middle finger. Harvard Law School’s career services dean had to lead a revolt against Sullivan & Cromwell. I even suggested that law students should try ignoring NALP, just like the big firms did.
Apparently, NALP isn’t going to take this industry-wide disrespect lying down. They’ve formed a commission! The commission is writing a report! And, by golly, we’re going to get some real, draconian … guidelines, worth at least the paper they’re printed on. Am Law Daily reports:
Among the recommendations, according to three sources familiar with the report: Setting a date, likely sometime in late fall, before which firms would be prohibited from making offers to prospective summers. That proposed structure would replace the current system, under which firms can make offers to prospective summer associates at any time after interviewing them and then must leave those offers open for 45 days.
Respect NALP’s authority!
Look, they have to try something. Because right now nobody is happy with fall recruiting.
Firms are annoyed with the way fall recruiting works, for obvious reasons:
Firm recruiters have objected more and more loudly as top schools, in a race to be the first to get their students in front of firm recruiters, have moved on-campus interview dates into August and September. Interviewing so early, firm recruiters have said, amounts to asking firms to make hiring decisions two years in advance based on a single year of law school performance. And people on all sides have said 45 days may be too long to keep an offer open.
And it’s not like law schools want to artificially move up the start of fall on-campus interviewing in a desperate attempt to get their students in front recruiters before slots fill up.
So if the system isn’t working for law firms, and it isn’t working for law schools, you better believe it isn’t working for law students. Fall recruiting is supposed to be better than sending out hundreds of resumes like some regular person looking for work. But now, recruiting has turned into this traumatic process where your future potential employers are willing to openly lie to you about your salary and your start date. Firms expect students to commit to them — forgoing other employment options — but firms are perfectly happy to wait until the last possible moment to decide whether or not they’ll honor offers made to their incoming class.
The system is broken, some might even say that the system is FUBAR. Will these new NALP guidelines fix it?
The sources we’ve spoken to say the system most likely to receive the NALP commission’s recommendation would be one which prohibits firms from making any offers before a certain date and then reduces the subsequent period during which an offer must remain open.
I don’t know. Increasingly, I’m of the belief that the old system just needs to be blown up and a new one should be built from scratch. How can a firm make a realistic hiring decision nearly two years in advance based on one year of law school? How can a law student make an informed choice when firms straight-up lie to them?
Like I said, at least NALP is throwing ideas out there. Somebody needs to do something.
The Future of Summer Associate Recruiting [Am Law Daily]
Earlier: Accept Your Offers: All of Them
Harvard Law School to the Rescue
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