Morrison Foerster logo.jpgUnlike some firms, MoFo has not given up on the class of 2010. The firm is actively looking forward to welcoming its incoming group of associates, and has started informing them about their start dates.

The firm extended offers to “approximately 65 law students” from its 2009 summer associate class. Their start dates are staggered. Some will get to wear a Halloween costume to the firm. Some will get to be part of the Christmas gift exchange, and some will be starting soon after getting over New Year’s Eve hangovers. MoFo chair Keith Wetmore sent out an email memo this afternoon letting current associates know how many people will be starting when:

Today, we will notify approximately 35 members of the class of 2010 of a November 1, 2010 start date. Approximately 20 members of the class (including a number of those arriving from their clerkships) have been given an accelerated start date of October 4, 2010 due to client demands. The final approximately 25 additional associates will join the class of 2010 on January 4, 2011 based either on their prior election to defer to 2011 or, in a few instances, deferral to align associate staffing with anticipated client demand.

(35 + 20 + 25 = 80. So there are 15 folks mixed in there who are not wearing a cap and gown this May. Some of those starting in January are 2009 grads who took the firm’s deferral package last year. And some of the 20 starting in October will be fresh off the clerkship boat. Yay! Clerks can go home again.)

It sounds like some of these wanna-be MoFoers, who hadn’t previously chosen to defer to 2011, got news of being deferred to January today. But they also got news of a stipend. MoFo is not following the Skadden salary advance lead

Those who were informed today that they’re not welcome at the firm until January were also told that MoFo will be sending them checks of $5,000 in November and December, as well as covering their health care. A firm spokesman tells us that the $10,000 will not have to be repaid. The checks start rolling on November 1, at the same time as 35 of their friends start working and getting their $160K paychecks.

It seems that the reasoning behind offering monthly stipends starting in November is to make the entire class feel like they’re all starting to get paid at the same time, some of them getting paid a little less since they’re being paid to do nothin’ until the firm needs them in January. We like the way MoFo calls the Oct. 4 start date “accelerated.” Alternately, they could call it the “month-before-we-start-issuing-stipends-to-our-benchwarmers” start date.

For those of you who will be working at MoFo this summer, you’re going to need to impress judging from the comment Wetmore made in today’s 2010-grads-are-screwed WSJ article:

Morrison & Foerster LLP, a 1,000-lawyer San Francisco-based firm, hired about 30% fewer graduates this year than in the prior year. “It would not surprise me if all firms cut back on hiring law graduates for a couple of years,” said Keith Wetmore, its chairman.

Below is an email with a more optimistic tone that Wetmore sent out to the firm today. Remember, Wetmore is one of the few in Biglaw who still thinks junior associates are worth something.

FIRMWIDE EMAIL FROM MORRISON & FOERSTER CHAIR KEITH WETMORE

Our successful 2009 Summer Program resulted in associate offers to approximately 65 law students. The firm had a very successful 2009 and we continue to align our new associate arrivals as closely as possible to anticipated client needs.

Today, we will notify approximately 35 members of the class of 2010 of a November 1, 2010 start date. Approximately 20 members of the class (including a number of those arriving from their clerkships) have been given an accelerated start date of October 4, 2010 due to client demands. The final approximately 25 additional associates will join the class of 2010 on January 4, 2011 based either on their prior election to defer to 2011 or, in a few instances, deferral to align associate staffing with anticipated client demand.

As was the case last year, each associate whose start date is deferred beyond November 1, 2010 will receive a monthly stipend of $5,000 for living expenses and reimbursement for health insurance premiums up to $500 per month.

Thank you in advance for your efforts to integrate and train these outstanding law graduates.


Earlier: Nationwide Start Date Watch: MoFo Comes Up With an Interesting Package
MoFo Back to 160k! And Good Bonus News.


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