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just say we can incorporate all of the graphic imagery above, then add inappropriate scenes involving the mothers of rescinded offerees and goats.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.
Just the other day, we told you that things were looking pretty good for 2Ls who want to be part of Schulte Roth & Zabel’s 2010 summer program.
That positive report is of no consolation to participants in Schulte’s 2009 summer program. It looks like those kids had the bad fortune of going to law school a year too early. Their summer program was only eight weeks long, and yesterday Schulte finally got around to making offers. A tipster reports:
We’re all talking. Seems like Schulte was about 2/3rds [offer rate] or so … We had a listserv of everyone. Seems like a ton of no offers. They did no offers first.
The two-thirds of Schulte summers who received offers were not given a start date. But the benefit of having a listserv is that they are still pretty excited to have offers in comparison to their colleagues that were rejected by the firm.
Schulte declined to comment for this story. But we understand that it is full steam ahead for summer 2010. Earlier: Schulte Roth Feeling Good About 2011
* Can someone please explain to me why coffee needs to be roughly the temperature of fire when it is handed to me? I want something to drink, not something I can use to sanitize a bathroom. [Torts Prof Blog]
* Marin asked me if the good days of Biglaw were gone forever. My response can be summed up in one word: “outsourcing.” [Technolawyer]
* How should you handle a rude recruiter? I don’t know, sweep the leg? [Let's Talk Turkey]
* Do you ever lie in bed wondering if Biglaw would take you back? [Ivy League Insecurities]
* Tips on snagging a clerkship from NYU Law. [Blackbook Legal]
* Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings. [Litination]
* You might remember that I thought former law student of the day, Janero Marchand, got a raw deal from some ATL commenters. Still, it’s an important lesson every buppie should know. [True/Slant]
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: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
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Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
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