Things seem to be going relatively well at Chadbourne & Parke. Let’s review some recent developments.
Back in January, the firm announced sizable raises and bonuses. In the same month, the Chadbourne & Parke Foundation generously contributed $100,000 to Haiti relief efforts. More recently, the firm’s well-regarded project finance practice snagged some high-profile work relating to renewable / clean energy projects.
But perhaps things aren’t going well enough at C&P. Earlier this week, we heard rumblings of the firm rescinding offers to some of its deferred associates.
We reached out to the firm, which confirmed the news and provided some details.
Here is a statement issued by Chadbourne & Parke in response to our inquiry:
In September 2009, the Firm informed 11 of the 28 members of the 2009 class that they would be deferred beyond the January 2010 start date and that there was no information on a projected start date (the remaining members of the 2009 class commenced employment with us in January 2010). Despite improving economic conditions generally and at Chadbourne, our most recent near-term projections led us to conclude that we could not justify increasing the first-year class beyond its current size and that there would be no positions available for the 11 deferred individuals. Immediately following this announcement, the Firm paid each of the 11 the balance of his/her $73,000 deferral stipend. This decision has no effect on members of the 2009 class currently employed by the Firm, the incoming class of 2010 or the 2010 summer class.
To its credit, the firm was upfront about the rescission. It could have strung along the 11 for a few more months, telling them to sit tight and be patient. But perhaps Chadbourne looked at the reader poll in our September 2009 post about the firm’s indefinite deferrals, in which three-quarters of respondents said they’d prefer a clean break from their firm over an indefinite deferral.
Furthermore, Chadbourne & Parke isn’t the only firm to rear-end its deferred associates. See also, e.g., Arent Fox (12 associates in September 2009); Wildman Harrold (10 associates in October 2009); Katten (13 associates in November 2009); and Winstead (2 associates in January 2010). (We’re sure we’ve missed some; feel free to mention them in the comments. Or email us (subject line: “Rescinded Offers,” if we haven’t previously reported the news.)
Back in fall 2009, we asked you: “Should deferred associates be looking for work?” In our reader poll, over 80 percent of you answered yes. The rescinded offers out of C&P suggest the correctness of that view. All the recent good news about the firm didn’t prevent Chadbourne & Parke from shifting 11 deferred associates into neutral.
As our wise colleague Elie once wrote with respect to deferred associates, “you don’t have a job until you are actually sitting at a desk, performing work. Paycheck or it didn’t happen.”
High energy work [National Law Journal]
Earlier: Chadbourne & Parke: True-Up Raises and Make-Whole Bonuses
Update: More Law Firms Help Out Haiti