Deferral Stipend, Email Scandals, Job Searches, Summer Associates

Mutiny at Mayer Brown?

Mayer Brown LLP new logo.jpgApparently, people who summered at Mayer Brown in 2009 and received an offer are still waiting to hear whether they will be able to start work in a timely manner.
Two former MB summer associates and current NYU Law students decided to take matters into their own hands. They sent out an email to everybody in Mayer Brown’s 2009 summer class. The students hoped to put grassroots pressure on Mayer Brown. I’ve redacted the students’ real names.

Hello Mayer Brown Class of 2010,
You know [Rosencrantz] if you were in New York, and [Guildenstern] if you were in Chicago. We are writing because Mayer Brown has kept us all in the dark about our futures. Their delay in formally announcing any of the plans for our class is unique among top law firms — in their total lack of official communication regarding our start dates, stipend, and health insurance over the coming year, they truly stand alone.
This letter is a call to concerted action in order to require Mayer Brown to make formal announcements regarding our future. We urge that each Mayer Brown 2009 Summer Associate ask their Law School’s Office of Career Services to call Mayer Brown and request the immediate formal announcement of the terms of our offers.

The rest of this call to action, after the jump.

The Assistant Dean at NYU School of Law will be calling Mayer Brown on our behalf this week. In fact, our Law School’s Office of Career Services encouraged us to reach out to you in this capacity. Keep in mind that our Law Schools have a lot of leverage in their dealings with law firms. Just last fall, several major firms were threatening to go outside the NALP hiring guidelines and a couple of calls from Law Schools quashed their plans. The sooner Mayer Brown announces the details of our offers, the more likely those offers will be favorable to us.
We understand there are about 40 people on this email, but we do ask that each individual “reply to all” once you have obtained agreement from your Law School to call Mayer Brown. Thank you very much for your consideration and we hope that you are as ready for real information as we are. We stress that if we all act together, the likelihood for our efforts to achieve our desired result — formal announcement regarding our futures, with a competitive package — is significantly higher.
Feel free to use this list to discuss other important information regarding our class, but please remember to keep it 100% professional.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
J.D. Candidates 2010
NYU School of Law

Oh dear. Haven’t these guys ever heard of the collective action problem?
One tipster gives us a little background on the revolutionary summer associates:

A few things need to be pointed out, in addition to the ridiculous tone and content of the email.

— multiple people on the email list did not even receive an offer
— one of the original senders tried to get the summer class to help him write a sitcom about their experiences (he also allegedly took a half day the day Michael Jackson died because he was grieving)

I see some real potential for total craziness here.
About two hours after the initial call to action, the students were playing defense:

I have gotten some panic phone calls and fearful concerns by email, so let me break it down to you all this way:
(1) Fear not; we will all be lawyers and will be fine with or without mayer brown, but trust me they won’t do anything bad to you because your school called them, or they will end up ALL OVER THE NEWS!
(2) NO OTHER FIRM so far has deferred people for a year without a stipend included!!
(3) Mayer Brown profits per partner only dropped 4% last year, so please don’t feel sorry for them, they have the money to give us!!!
I’m just saying this to ease the unbelievable concerns that have been expressed to me. Come on folks, it’s not like you haven’t just spent 20+ years of your life in school, and don’t deserve this. You deserve this and more, but at the minimum you deserve an official statement from MB about your future, and thats all we’re really asking for at this time. If they decide to defer us without a stipend, or rescind our offers because we asked a question that they didn’t need to wait for us to ask; I personally will spend the next year being a Public Relations Disaster for MB and all the Decision Making Partners. How’s that for motivation???

Yes, your public relations disaster skills are strong.
The other summer associate organizer also added some clarification:

One final note of clarification – nobody, at any point, will be speaking on behalf of anybody else. We tried to make that clear in our initial email. All we were doing was planting a seed – “Hey, if you want information, your school will probably be happy to help you out and call the firm. If you are uncomfortable with that, at the very least, you now know that there are a lot of other people going through the same thing as you.”
Please rest 100% assured, at no point is anybody going to claim to speak on behalf of anybody else. Thanks again, and our apologies for any confusion on that point.

The best part of the story is how this mini-rebellion ended. By 5:00 p.m. yesterday, the original rabble-rousers were brought to heel:

Hi Folks,
I just wanted to let everyone know that you can now cease contacting your Career Services Office and/or Mayer Brown. I just received a phone call from partners at Mayer Brown informing me that decisions are being made as we speak, and we will be informed of the decisions in a timely manner. That said, it would be nice of you to ease Mayer Brown’s workload by not initiating any further inquiries at this time. Thanks a lot.

I would have loved to have been on that phone call.
Do you think this stunt will make these two guys popular with their new colleagues? Perhaps, but Mayer Brown management will surely remember these guys, and not favorably. They’ll probably be trusted as adders fanged.

(hidden for your protection)

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