Biglaw, Blind Item, Clerkships, Cold Offers, Federal Judges, Law Schools, No Offers, Summer Associates

Biglaw Blind Item: An Ice-Cold Offer

Now that Labor Day is behind us, fall is fast approaching. You can tell by the chill in the evening air.

Or is that just the cold offers we’re feeling? Last month, we asked you for stories about firms giving out cold offers to summer associates. As we explained, a “cold offer” or “fake offer” is, in the words of NALP, an employment offer made “with the understanding that the offer will not be accepted.”

This “offer,” made with a wink and a nudge, allows the employing law firm to report (and boast about) a 100 percent offer rate, when in reality it isn’t welcoming back 100 percent of its summer associates. It also has an advantage for the recipient: when she goes through 3L recruiting, she can truthfully say, “Yes, I received an offer from the firm where I summered.”

We recently heard a story about a pretty cold offer (not from summer 2011, but from not too long ago summer 2010). This summer associate, who wasn’t the most popular person in her class, received a full-time employment offer “contingent upon obtaining a federal clerkship.” Given how hard it is to land a federal judicial clerkship, that’s a pretty cold offer — especially considering that the student in question, now graduated, didn’t go to a law school known for cranking out lots of clerks.

But wait, it gets better….

“The problem was, she is not even a U.S. citizen, and therefore she is ineligible for clerkships,” one of her friends explained to us. In fact, “she had already interviewed with a judge and been turned down by him because she was not a citizen.”

The firm knew about her non-citizen status when they made her an offer “contingent upon obtaining a federal clerkship.” They knew of her immigration status because they had filed the necessary paperwork in order to employ her as a summer associate.

This a pretty tough story to top. But if you have an offer-related anecdote that you think can compete, feel free to email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Cold Offers”).

P.S. We have previously covered the (relatively new) difficulties facing non-citizens who want to clerk for federal judges — at least on a paid basis. Some foreigners do unpaid clerkships after graduation, if they can afford it.

Earlier: Summer Associate Offer Rates: Another Update
Clerkship Application Season: Open Thread

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