In a couple of months, the class of 2012 will embark on its quest to find an elusive Biglaw summer associate gig. But let’s not forget that many in the class of 2009 are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to start.
Most of McDermott Will & Emery’s 2009 class has started already. But last week a few of the stragglers received some bad news. A tipster reports:
Just a heads up, McDermott Will & Emery rescinded offers to most of their deferred 2009 graduates on Wednesday via a phone call.
We reached out to MWE, and their spokespersons strongly disagree with characterization that offers to “most” of the deferred associates were rescinded….
Yesterday, we told you about a law firm that left a war veteran without an offer. Today, we are able to confirm that the firm in question was Foley & Lardner. But we also have a correction and some additional details about the situation.
Let’s get to the correction first. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported:
Matt Nelson graduated last week from the University of Minnesota with a law degree and an MBA. Nelson, 36, was on track to earn $145,000 his first year at a Milwaukee firm. But duty called, and while he was serving as an Army paralegal in Iraq, Milwaukee withdrew its offer.
The Minneapolis paper got it wrong here. Matt Nelson was a summer associate at Foley & Lardner in 2008 and 2009. Foley no offered him at the end of his 2009 summer at the firm, which was after he had returned from Iraq. The firm did not pull his offer while he was serving overseas.
That’s lucky for Foley. As many commenters pointed out, yanking an offer while Nelson was in Iraq (as the Star-Tribune reported) might have gotten Foley into legal trouble. As it stands, Foley’s actions are just a depressing statement about insufficient respect for our war veterans.
Above the Law reached out to Matt Nelson, and he made it clear that he doesn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him just because of one no offer….
Incoming associates get really angry when firms rescind offers for full-time employment. As Lat said this afternoon here in the office, law students react “as if rescinding offers is like eating babies.” Incoming associates understand that the market remains tough, but these recruits still have harsh words for firms that pull offers.
We can understand the concern. Remember, during the NALP conference, Executive Director James Leipold said that he didn’t think Biglaw would be able to reabsorb all the people who have been displaced. It’s a bit like musical chairs — only if you aren’t in a seat when the music stops, you have to go into the back room and perform sexual favors for a debt-collector named Rocco.
And that’s how students feel when you rescind their offers in a timely manner. When you rescind offers at a late date … let’s just say we can incorporate all of the graphic imagery above, then add inappropriate scenes involving the mothers of rescinded offerees and goats. Recent graduates become unhinged when firms pull offers late in the season.
Well, in case some firms haven’t noticed, it’s getting pretty late in the season. Finals are upon 3Ls in some places; graduation is here in other places. People are preparing to study for the bar. This is no time for firms to get cold feet about offers relied upon in good faith.
So, we offer you this open thread. Let us know which firms are pulling offers as we head towards Memorial Day. We already know that there is some bad news for a few would-be incoming associates at Sonnenschein…
I’m back in New York City — a place that has infinitely more Puerto Rican culture than a Hilton in Puerto Rico. But I still have a few more write-ups from the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference. I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring back a little information for the hordes of lawyers laid off or shut out of Biglaw during the recession. Rest assured, you are not alone.
On Friday afternoon, I attended a panel called “The State of the Legal Economy and the Legal Employment Market.” This should have been the highlight event for the conference. The only panelist was James Leipold, Executive Director of NALP, and he was slated to talk about the hard numbers NALP has put together describing the recession. The panel was booked for the largest conference room in the hotel — the room easily sat 250 people.
Jim Leipold, of NALP
Total attendance = 12 people (I counted). The lesson: do not hold your executive summary panel at 3:30 on Friday in Puerto Rico.
Why was I there? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m actually confused as to how I ended up covering a panel with 11 other attendees. The room was so cold (air conditioning for 250) that I’m convinced that when conference room air met the Puerto Rican humidity, it caused the tropical depression that hammered the Gulf Coast over the weekend.
In any event, I received some hard numbers for my trouble. And I got to hear Leipold’s thoughts on just how screwed the “Lost Generation” of would-be Biglaw associates are. Not good times, my friends. Try not to finish your cup of hemlock before you hear the numbers…
The signals seem mixed in terms of whether the legal profession is on the road to recovery. On the one hand, the pace of layoffs is certainly slowing. On the other hand, firms are taking other steps to keep headcount (and expenses) down. They are not yet in a mode where they need more hands on deck to handle all the work.
One of the popular approaches is deferral extension, i.e., pushing start dates for incoming associates back yet again. A number of firms have gone down this path. To view our prior coverage, click here and scroll down.
The latest firm to take this approach: Winston & Strawn. The firm’s incoming associates were previously scheduled to arrive on January 19, 2010. Now, according to a memo issued yesterday by hiring partner Joseph Torres, class of 2009 associates will be starting on one of three dates: February 1, 2010; June 1, 2010; or October 4, 2010.
Deferral extension details, including the full memo, plus other information about Winston — after the jump.
Although November is just around the corner, some 2009 summer associates are still learning about their fates. As one might expect given how late it is in the recruiting season, the news that comes around now isn’t always the happiest.
Above the Law has received reports that summer associates from McGuireWoods are now hearing back about offers. The interesting part is that the firm has apparently decided to make offers in waves, i.e., on a rolling basis.
One tipster tells us that approximately 11 out of 48 summers have received offers of full-time employment — thus far. The rest haven’t been rejected; rather, they’ve been placed on what amounts to a waitlist. Depending on how things unfold over the coming weeks and months, they might get offers — or they might not.
This “hiring in waves” approach is effectively what Dechert did. The firm made offers to about half of its summer class, but told the other half that they’d hear about offers in January 2010.
Comment from a source at the firm, after the jump.
The Great Recession has been tough for many different types of firms — and that even includes intellectual property firms. During the past year, IP-focused shops have cut back on hiring, slashed salaries, and lost key partners to larger firms.
A few recent developments at Finnegan Henderson, the D.C.-based IP powerhouse, reflect the new realities. Multiple sources report the following:
1. Earlier this week, at an “all associates” meeting, the firm announced that it is freezing associate salaries.
2. At the same meeting, the firm announced that it is reducing first-year associate salaries from $160,000 to $145,000 (in all offices).
UPDATE: We understand that Finnegan has frozen support staff salaries as well.
Two additional items about Finnegan, after the jump.
On Wednesday, we reported that Fenwick & West paid $60,000 in “go away” money money to some members of its incoming associate class. Today, we have news about Fenwick’s 2009 summer program, i.e., the most recent summer program, and the firm’s offer rate.
Fenwick took on 36 2Ls and 3Ls this past summer. But the summer was only eight weeks long, and Fenwick’s summer salary was on a $145K scale instead of $160K.
Still, most summers probably would have been okay with Fenwick’s program if it had ended with a strong offer rate. But it didn’t. Sources report that the firm only made offers to 17 of the 36 summers. A tipster reports the breakdown:
Ultimately the firm extended 17 offers (47%): 8 litigation, 8 corporate and 1 patent.
During orientation the hiring partners told us those who did not receive an offer would receive a letter that they could show other firms as a means to explain why we did not get an offer.
Is anybody else interested in this letter that will explain everything to other firms? Let’s check it out after the jump.
So what’s happening at Akin Gump these days? There has been some happy news — e.g., a thriving energy M&A practice, lawyers honored by the Washington Business Journal as top D.C. lawyers, and a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index of the Human Rights Campaign.
And there has been some less happy news. We’ve heard there have been a number of cuts to the staff ranks in Akin’s D.C. office in the past few weeks, as well as a few attorney dismissals here and there (not couched as “layoffs”).
Through a spokesperson, the firm confirmed some trimming of staff ranks, but declined to provide numbers:
While we do not discuss specific personnel matters, we continue to review and streamline our operations to fit the current size of the firm. This has resulted in a small number of staff reductions across the firm. We are not involved in a larger effort aimed at reducing our staff or lawyer workforce.
We hear the severance was around three months, although the firm would not confirm this.
The firm did, however, respond to our inquiry about offer rates.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
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Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.