Deferral Stipend, Start Dates

Incoming Bryan Cave Associates: Welcome to 2012.

Do you remember the scene in the Amityville Horror House movie where the toilet says to the family, “Get out”? That seems to be what firms are telling incoming associates when they defer first-years until 2012.

Today, we’ve got another firm that has decided to put some of its incoming associates on the long march towards nowhere in particular. Missouri Lawyers reports:

St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is among the firms that have pushed off start dates on new associates to 2012.

The firm’s St. Louis office made 14 total offers last fall to 2010 law school graduates, but told seven of them at the time that they wouldn’t be starting until January 2012, said managing partner Peter Van Cleve. The other seven were extended offers to start in January 2011.

Remember, Bryan Cave is still trying to absorb the members of the class of 2009 — at least the ones who didn’t already take the firm’s offer to split…

At the end of last summer, Bryan Cave offered a deal to the would-be incoming class of 2009. At the time, we reported:

Tipsters report that the firm is offering some associates $70,000 to “walk away” instead of showing up for work. That’s the carrot. This tipster reports the stick:

“[A Bryan Cave letter] stated that they are unable to guarantee a start date at this time .. The letter [also] said was that they are unsure if they will need any first year associates before 2011. Shady, shady, shady…”

Remember, that was for the graduating class of 2009. So, from a certain point of view, the graduating class of 2010 shouldn’t have expected anything better.

This time around, however, we haven’t received any reports that the 2010 deferred incoming associates will get an option to take $70,000 to walk away. We must be at the “you should have known better” stage of voluntary departure stipends.

But you have to wonder what (if anything) is the current Bryan Cave summer class thinking? Show up to work this summer and try to get a job offer for 2013? Don’t they know that the Mayan prophecy will come true and the world will be over by then? That seems to be Bryan Cave’s best hope of dealing with its oversupply problem — so unless you’re John Cusack, it might not be worth the effort at the firm this summer.

We’ve said it before, but you can’t repeat it enough: you do not have a job unless you are actually sitting at a desk performing some kind of legal work. Offers at many firms are entirely conditioned on the whims of the American economy and the ability of law firm managers to exhibit a modicum of hiring foresight. Neither factor lies within the control of a summer associate.

Good luck to all the would-be Bryan Cave associates who will most likely now never start at the firm. Hopefully you spent your 3L year desperately trying to line up some other kind of post-graduate employment.

Bryan Cave to start some associates in 2012 [Missouri Lawyers]

Earlier: Bryan Cave Offers Incoming Associates ‘Go Away’ Money
Mintz Levin 2012 Deferral Follow Up

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