No such thing as a free lunch?

What’s not to like about a summer associate program? Most law students are down with free lunches, fun events, interesting work, and fat paychecks.

Sure, there are exceptions — like the summer associate who quit via firm-wide email earlier this month, declaring that he’d “rather be farming.” But, for the most part, summer associate positions are coveted gigs — especially because they might lead to full-time employment after graduation.

We recently mentioned that entry-level Biglaw hiring is on the upswing. But that’s true as a general matter, not across the board.

Which firm is taking us back in time and canceling its summer associate program in two offices?

Canceling summer programs was a thing back in 2009, when Biglaw was suffering through the Great Recession. Since those dark days, however, killing off summer programs has been rare, done by firms in exceptional circumstances. See, e.g., We Don’t Have Any Summer Associates, Dewey?

So this news from late last week came as a bit of a surprise. A tipster forwarded us an email:

Date: Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Subject: BADCF: Sedgwick Schedule Cancellation

All – I’m writing to you regarding Sedgwick’s participation in the 2014 Bay Area Diversity Career Fair. Unfortunately, after much thought, the San Francisco office has decided not to have a summer program for 2015 and will therefore need to cancel their participation.

We reached out to Sedgwick, which boasts more than 350 lawyers across a dozen offices around the country, to find out the extent of its summer program cancellations. The firm issued this statement to us, through a spokesperson:

Sedgwick is committed to continually evaluating our business needs and ensuring the firm is appropriately staffed to most effectively and efficiently serve our clients. After careful evaluation of our anticipated needs for first-year and more experienced attorneys, we have decided to suspend for this year our on-campus interviewing for our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. We continue to recruit associates and partners to meet the specific needs of our offices and practices. We will continue, as we always have, to evaluate our summer associate program on an annual basis.

Ah, so Los Angeles was affected as well as San Francisco. In fairness to Sedgwick, neither office had a very large program. This summer, each office has two summer associates apiece; in the summer of 2013, San Francisco hosted four summers and Los Angeles hosted two summers.

It does seem that Sedgwick is, as noted in its statement, focused on efficiency these days. Following in the footsteps of many other firms, Sedgwick recently moved its back office operations to Kansas City, Missouri.

By the way, we’ve been hearing interesting rumblings out of Sedgwick, especially regarding the New York office. If you have information you’d like to share, please feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477).

Sedgwick to move back-office operations from San Francisco to Kansas City [ABA Journal]

Earlier: A Summer Associate’s Premature Departure: ‘I Would Rather Be Farming’
How Did The Law School Class Of 2013 Do In The Job Market?
We Don’t Have Any Summer Associates, Dewey?


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