We’re on to day 3 of the NALP conference. With all the racial tensions going on back home, day 3 has been a pleasant reminder that once properly tanned, everybody basically looks the same. Of course, there is a downside: I can no longer figure out which panelists may be genetically predisposed to say something intelligent.
Day 2 of the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference had a remarkably different feel from day 1. Apparently, it took everybody a day to realize that they were in Puerto freaking Rico. After really sticking to business casual on the first day, day 2 saw the introduction of something I’d call “business beachware.” Men were wearing t-shirts with their slacks. Women were wearing bathing suit tops instead of bras under their attire. Sandals abound. Everybody’s hair is messed up. Panelists stuck in suits look like they’re ready to kill themselves, or melt.
As you may have heard, I’m in Puerto Rico covering the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference. There are so many panels and talks scheduled at precisely the same time that I’ve had to prioritize what will matter most to ATL readers. I’m tweeting about the conference, so if you want me to check something out, just let me know.
Sadly, I already decided to skip the “How to do a body shot when you’re 40″ break-out session. Instead, I went to “Recruiting in the Aftermath of the Recession.”
I figured ATL readers would like to get a peek at this one because Kimball and Long were talking directly to firm recruiters about lateral hiring. I was not disappointed. During Kimball’s opening, he wondered if “some legal recruiter will say in 2013, ‘In order to gain the competitive advantage, let’s raise starting salaries to $185,000.’”
Meanwhile, Long predicted “The Lateral Hiring Crisis of 2013.” I don’t know who this 2013 person is, but I’d sure like to meet her.
But sadly, Kimball and Long predict that 2013′s potential bounty will fall on only a select few associates…
While two of your ATL editors are stuck in unseasonably cold New York, Elie Mystal landed in Puerto Rico today to attend NALP’s Annual Education Conference. Judging from NALP’s website, it sounds like there was some controversy over the exotic location. They have a whole section devoted to “Why Puerto Rico?” (“It’s home to three NALP member law schools and a number of important legal employers.”)
Regardless, Elie is happy to be there, though also a little scared given some of the previous things he’s written about the organization. He’ll be filing posts based on sessions he attends, as well as covering the conference pithily in real time on the ATLblog Twitter feed.
Check out the conference schedule here and tweet at Elie and at ATL if there’s something you desperately want him to attend. Elie’s currently at the session on “Recruiting in the Aftermath of the Recession,” led by Frank Kimball of Kimball Professional Management and Helen Long, the director of legal recruiting at Ropes & Gray LLP. He tweets:
Recruiting in the aftermath of the recession. “aftermath”?? Yeah, this should be fun
On Friday, we told you that NALP released its updated forms on firm offer rates. There is a wealth of information in the NALP data, and an Above the Law reader teased out the summer offer rate information:
I’m sure you’ve noticed, some firms only give NALP multi-office reports, some give multi-office reports in conjunction with their regular single-office reports, and others don’t use it at all, in addition to the domestic/international differences on some firms… Which is all to say that I might have inadvertently double-counted interns and offers at some firms without knowing about it, and the data may not always be parallel between different firms. However, the information from each firm is at least real and, I hope, comprehensive.
The reader compiled offer rate information for the top 50 firms according to Vault. You can really see an offer rate drop off in the bottom half of the Vault 50…
Breaking news from the land of totally obvious statistics: the class of 2009 got rogered, but good.
The National Law Journal reports that the NALP numbers are out, and the statistics confirm what we all already know:
The median number of offers by U.S. law firms for 2010 summer associate positions was seven, according to statistics released Tuesday by the National Association for Law Placement. That was down from 10 offers in 2008 and 15 offers in 2007.
In fact, the offer rate was the lowest NALP has reported since the organization began gathering offer statistics some 17 years ago.
Only 36 percent of interviews last year resulted in summer associate offers, compared to 47 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2007.
On Friday we reported that, after months of discussion, NALP would be changing to the 45-day open offer period to a 28-day open offer period, and otherwise leaving fall recruiting to proceed much as it has been. Today, we’re learning why NALP decided to abandon more ambitious plans to actually make recruiting better for students, law schools, and law firms. Apparently, fundamental change is just too damn hard. The National Law Journal reports:
NALP Executive Director Jim Leipold said that the organization received 800 responses to the proposal since it was unveiled in early January.
“It became clear that there was no easy consensus or even a trend around one particular idea,” he said. “Law firms and law schools are both conservative and risk-averse institutions. The scope of change was very large and it doesn’t surprise me that there was resistance.”
I feel bad for Jim Leipold. It seems like a large part of his job involves running around explaining why his organization can’t actually do anything useful.
NALP stakeholders may be happy, but students are just as screwed as ever.
If it seems I’m hard on the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), understand that it is out of love. We want NALP to succeed. We want them to gather reliable information from law firms; we want them to provide reasonable guidance for law students, schools, and firms. Having an organization like NALP sounds like such a good idea.
As my Dad used to say, “these occasional beatings hurt me more than they hurt you.”
But when NALP releases new provisional recruiting guidelines that address approximately zero issues regarding law firm recruiting, it’s hard not to go to the woodshed and start looking for switches. Here’s the headline news from NALP:
The NALP Board of Directors has announced provisional timing guidelines for the 2010 recruiting cycle, adopting a 28-day rolling response deadline for candidates not previously employed by the employer, and a November 1 response deadline for candidates who have been previously employed by the employer.
This decision comes on the heels of months of member outreach and industry dialogue about the legal industry’s recruiting processes. In a communication to its membership earlier today, the Board reported on the actions taken during its meeting yesterday.
The “old” NALP guideline provided for a 45-day open offer period. So, for those playing along at home, it took NALP a global economic recession and months of discussion for it to shave two and a half weeks off the open offer period. I’ve seen deck chair rearrangements more decisive than this….
Yesterday we wrote about NALP’s decision to allow firms to blur the equity / non-equity partner distinction. Today, the WSJ Law Blog, the ABA Journal, and Business Insider have coverage of the issue.
But NALP isn’t the only organization attempting to gather information on law firm partnerships. Vault is also in that game, and according to a senior law editor Vera Djordjevich, they have no problem getting the very equity versus non-equity partnership information NALP ignores:
[O]ur diversity survey requests — and most law firms provide — separate numbers for equity partners and non-equity partners. …
The database includes statistics for equity vs non-equity partners for each of the demographic groups the survey addresses (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability). Of the firms that participate in the survey, a small percentage refuse to distinguish between partnership tiers in their reporting, but that fact is generally disclosed in a footnote. For example, Kirkland & Ellis reports that it has more than one partnership tier but includes all data in the equity partner category, explaining that the firm “does not distinguish between equity and non-equity partners for the purpose of external surveys.”
So Vault is at least asking the questions — but are they getting answers? Details after the jump.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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