Baker & McKenzie’s incoming class of 2009 can no longer fool themselves. If they haven’t started at the firm by now, they are never going to start.
Back in September, we reported that 12 of the 18 members of the 2009 Baker & McKenzie class still waiting to start had been re-deferred until June. At the time, Baker gave these people an ominous warning (emphasis added):
Starting in January, 5k stipend plus benefits for up to six months. at ANY time during six months, MAY get a call from b&m, have 1-2 weeks to report to work, but absent a major bump in work, not likely to happen. If after June, no call from b&m, “the relationship will end.”
Well, it’s June, and it appears that the relationship between Baker & McKenzie and 11 of the 12 re-deferred incoming associates has, in fact, ended…
Back in September, we told the re-deferred associates that they shouldn’t wait around just because Baker & McKenzie promised them a job in the summer of 2008. Clearly, the writing was on the wall. And while we suspect that people weren’t blithely sitting on their couches figuring everything would be good come June, it is a pretty tough job market out there, especially for a “4L” who hasn’t had any opportunity to work at the job they were offered.
A source reports that Baker & McKenzie officially revoked offers to the rest of its incoming class earlier this month. But the tipster takes particular exception to the lack of help Baker offered them as they tried to find some way to reclaim legal careers which were snatched out from under them:
From January until June, we were not contacted by the firm. When approached, the firm was unresponsive to inquiries for more information. They could have tried to start all of us and put us on a half the time, half the salary plan (like the Baker SF and DC offices). They could have tried to help us find new jobs by hiring us as contract attorneys or using their extensive network to assist in placement. Firms like Orrick and McDermott have tried to place their deferred associates at clients’ offices. No such effort was made on our behalf.
It wasn’t until June 10 that the firm finally contacted us. They told us that none of us would be called back. When asked if they were able to assist us in finding other work, they indicated that we were invited to upload our resumes to the Baker website, beyond that there will not be any assistance going forward.
A Baker & McKenzie spokesperson explained the firm’s decision:
Our New York office has been unable to accommodate eleven first-year associates from the class of 2009 who had been put on hold this past January. As a result, these individuals will not be starting at the Firm. We regret having to make this decision, but unfortunately the work required for these individuals has not materialized to a sufficient degree. At this time, more than 30 new associates from the 2009 class whose start dates were deferred are now working in our North American offices, while seven are on client secondments.
Well, at least the horrible waiting game is over. Now these 11 never-will-be Baker & McKenzie people don’t have waste time dreaming that somehow Baker will make it all work out. That chapter of their life is closed; it’s time to start on a new one.