On Friday we reported that, after months of discussion, NALP would be changing to the 45-day open offer period to a 28-day open offer period, and otherwise leaving fall recruiting to proceed much as it has been. Today, we’re learning why NALP decided to abandon more ambitious plans to actually make recruiting better for students, law schools, and law firms. Apparently, fundamental change is just too damn hard. The National Law Journal reports:
NALP Executive Director Jim Leipold said that the organization received 800 responses to the proposal since it was unveiled in early January.
“It became clear that there was no easy consensus or even a trend around one particular idea,” he said. “Law firms and law schools are both conservative and risk-averse institutions. The scope of change was very large and it doesn’t surprise me that there was resistance.”
I feel bad for Jim Leipold. It seems like a large part of his job involves running around explaining why his organization can’t actually do anything useful.
NALP stakeholders may be happy, but students are just as screwed as ever.
My favorite quote from the NLJ article is this one:
One thing nearly everyone seemed to agree about was that 45 days is too long for students to hold offers open. That time frame makes it hard for firms to manage the size of their summer associate classes.
Yep, you put a bunch of law firm recruiters and law school administrators in the same room, and the only thing they can agree about is how law students screw everything up. Perfect. Maybe next NALP can get everybody together to figure out how law students with their sense of entitlement are directly responsible for the Chilean earthquake.
Is 45 days too long to figure out where you want to start your career? Probably. But please understand law students aren’t just trying to figure out which firm they “like” best. They’re trying to figure out which firm is most likely to lie to them, defer them, or fire them. Employment decisions are complicated in a world where employers can’t be trusted.
Of course, some firms don’t see any problem at all with the current system:
“I certainly didn’t think the system was broken,” said Aaron Marks, hiring partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in New York. “It would have been possibly problematic if that got moved back to January.”
How nice. Aaron Marks doesn’t think the system is broken. I wonder if Aaron Marks has ever had a conversation with a class of 2009 associate who is still waiting to start because he chose the wrong firm to summer with back in fall of 2007.
I don’t know when “it’s too hard” became an acceptable excuse for refusing to reform broken systems. But I guess that isn’t just a problem in the legal industry (see generally: American Health Care system). Next time a partner asks you to meet an unreasonable deadline, tell him “it’s too hard.” Apparently, that’s the American way.
Firms Breathe Sigh of Relief Over NALP Change on Recruiting [National Law Journal]
Earlier: Meet the New NALP Recruiting Guidelines, They’re Substantially Similar to the Old NALP Recruiting Guidelines.