Biglaw, Start Dates

Start Date Open Thread: When Can The Class of 2011 Start Earning?

During the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, pushing back start dates was all the rage. Biglaw firms got really creative about when they’d allow people to show up for work.

Now you’re not going to believe this, but it turns out that refusing to let people show up for work created other problems. The deferrals created a backlog of associates that Biglaw has been trying to absorb ever since. At some firms, there are still people who were supposed to be part of the class of 2010 who are waiting to start. At DLA Piper, for instance, some associates in the class of 2010 won’t be able to start until January 2012.

So where does that leave the class of 2011? If you are lucky enough to have a Biglaw job lined up for after graduation, will you be able to start on time? With a few notable exceptions, last year took us back closer to start date normalcy.

Early indications suggest that 2011 will continue that trend….

So far, we have not heard any ridiculous stories about the class of 2011 getting deferred until after the next presidential election.

In fact, at some places we’re hearing news that start dates are back to normal. At Davis Polk, tipsters report that they’ve been given a choice of three start dates, all in 2011: September 19, October 24, or November 14. That’s the way it used to be.

The news is welcome to law students headed to Davis Polk, and it puts those kids in a better position than many of their peers. Most firms, even very prestigious Biglaw firms, have simply been silent when it comes to start dates.

As usual, you understand the business concerns of the Biglaw managers. It’s still March, and people want firms to know for certain how many people they’ll need in October? That’s a tough needle to thread.

But the calendar is what it is: 3Ls will need to find apartments, pick a place to conduct bar review, and generally figure out how they are supposed to support themselves from graduation to whenever they can start. You can’t throw those things together at the last minute.

So let us know what you know. If you have heard anything (or if you haven’t), tell us what your firm is saying to you, in the comments.

Earlier: Open Thread: When Do You Start Work, Class of 2010?
DLA Piper Defers Half the Class of 2010 to 2012

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