So far, firms that have deferred their 2009 summer associates to 2011 have been noncommittal about whether they will be giving a deferral stipend. Many class of 2009 graduates received money from firms for the year long wait. It’s not clear that class of 2010 graduates will be as lucky.
With the market still up in the air, Shearman & Sterling is giving its incoming class of 2010 the same offer it gave to its incoming class of 2009. A tipster reports:
Shearman NY has announced deferral stipends of $65k.
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.
But there are other developments at Sidley too. Regarding start dates for class of 2010 graduates, a source reports:
Sidley Austin sent out letters regarding their deferral program. The details are a January 2012 start date, not optional. Health insurance coverage starting June 1, 2010 (thank goodness), and a stipend of $5000 / month starting January 2011. As usual, no stipend if we work for another law firm, and they reserve the right to call us back early if hell freezes over work picks up.
Sidley declined to comment on its deferral program.
On the subject of being summoned to work before 2011, we’d tell the tipster: hey, it might happen. As you may recall, some Sidley D.C. incoming associates were contacted over the summer and asked to start early.
A year and a half is a long time to be deferred. Hopefully members of the class of 2010 won’t get into as much trouble as Brian Schroeder during their time off.
CORRECTION: As noted in the comments, and confirmed by emails sent to us directly, Sidley is splitting up the class of 2010. Some are starting in January 2012 and some in January 2011 (which is apparently the earliest start date).
Speaking of Brian Schroeder, we wanted to draw your attention to one reader comment that struck us as funny, as well as yet yet another testimonial about him (to add to the prior ones).
Kaye Scholer has announced that its incoming first year associate will still be starting in January. All of them. But there is a catch. Kaye Scholer will split the class into two groups of full time associates. One group will work for the firm’s paying clients and get paid the normal first year starting salary. The other group — roughly half of the class — will work exclusively with the firm’s public interest group and will make $60,000.
Above the Law spoke with Kaye Scholer managing partner Barry Wilner about the program. He emphasized that the firm wanted to invite everybody in its first year class to start at the firm because the class is “excellent.” But he acknowledged that the demand for legal services isn’t what it used to be. Instead of sending half of its class back out on the street to look for public interest work, Wilner wanted to put them to work under the umbrella of Kaye Scholer’s pro bono efforts:
It’s incredibly difficult to get public interest work in this environment. … It’s a good thing from the standpoint that the firm is providing excellent public interest training and mentoring.
Wilner also told us that the public interest associates would still have access to all of the training other first year associates have, and they would be eligible for full firm benefits.
Associates weren’t asked to volunteer to be in the public interest group. Wilner said that the firm had to make difficult decisions about how to split the class. Practice group preference was one factor. But Wilner also said that because the incoming class was strong across the board, some amount of arbitrariness also played a role.
After the jump, incoming associates in the public interest group weigh in.
Earlier this month, we reported on layoffs at Foley & Lardner. Foley later confirmed the news.
Maybe Foley is just clearing out room so it can bring on its class of incoming associates? Right. Maybe if I had wheels I’d be a wagon? Foley has already deferred its incoming associates until February 2010. Now it is deferring associates again. Tipsters report:
I know every office has been talked to about the *possibility* of changing start dates. … [In Chicago] it’s complicated:
* all incoming IP associates are deferred until September, 2010, with a $5K/month stipend (no health care) beginning February 1; * half the litigation associates will start in February as planned; the other half will actually start *earlier*, this December; * the incoming transactional associates haven’t been told anything yet. My guess is they’ll be summarily shot.
The firm has not responded to our multiple requests for comment.
Incoming associates are asking firms to let them know when they will be starting. But does it really matter? Are there opportunities that incoming associates are really passing up this fall because they plan on starting this after the first of the year? Let us know in the comments. Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Foley & Lardner Lays Off 39
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey already deferred its incoming class of 2009 to January 2010. Yesterday, the firm informed half of those incoming associates that they were getting the Bird — i.e., the firm indefinitely deferred half of its incoming class.
But before the firm decides what it will do with half of its incoming associates, Squire Sanders needs to make a decision about whether to keep its current associates. SSD’s chairman, James J. Maiwurm, told associates to expect layoffs over the next 45 days.
Above the Law has received the official Squire Sanders statement. Take a look after the jump.
As regular Above the Law readers know, there are a few firms that are offering “go away” money to their incoming associates. The deal, like ones at Stroock and Pillsbury, is that the firm will give incoming associates a large payment instead of a job, and the incoming associate will quietly go peruse other employment options.
We haven’t really gotten a sense of how many would-be associates would actually consider this offer — until now. Fenwick & West offered its incoming associates $60,000 to stay away. According to our sources, around 40 percent of Fenwick’s 2009 class took the money.
But there is a catch; there’s always a catch.
Details after the jump.
There’s an internal debate among your Above the Law editors about whether these green shoots we keep hearing about are real. I believe. Of course, I also believe that if I don’t clap very, very hard, Tinkerbell will die.
And I believe that there are signs that the legal economy is picking up as well. Check out the statement that incoming associates of Katten Muchin Rosenman received on Friday:
In March of this year, we made the difficult decision to defer start dates for our 2009 class of first-year associates until February 1, 2010, the beginning of our fiscal year. Since then, we are fortunate to have experienced an increase in demand for our legal services in a number of core practice areas that has enabled us to offer six of our deferred first-year associates the opportunity to begin their work at Katten this month, rather than waiting until February. These associates will practice in the areas of litigation and intellectual property and are spread across all firm offices.
Wildman Harrold has decided to give a majority of its incoming associates the Fox. Am Law Daily reports that the firm has rescinded offers to 10 of its 14 associates. Unlike Arent Fox, Wildman will not be giving its would-be incoming associates any stipend.
On the Wildman Harrold career page, they really like numbers. They evidently haven’t had a chance to update their summer associate page; they’re probably busy with fall recruiting. So I figured I’d give them a hand.
Wildman, by the numbers:
* 10 – Number of offers rescinded to class of 2009 associates (out of 14). * 4 – Number of offers extended to 2009 summer associates (out of 17). * 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in January 2009. * 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in April 2009.
Wildman is a Chicago based firm. Yesterday, we told you that the Illinois bar results were out. You don’t think that Wildman rescinded offers right after the bar results came out do you? More details after the jump.
The closer we get to the time when incoming associates in the class of 2009 are supposed to start, the more deferral extensions we are likely to see. Over the weekend, news broke that Chadbourne & Parke had decided to push back half of its incoming class “indefinitely.”
We don’t have any information about whether the incoming associates on extended deferral will be offered any type of extended stipend. Update: A spokesperson from Chadbourne responded to Above the Law’s inquires about the continuing stipend:
These deferred associates have already received $13,000 and will receive an additional $60,000 stipend beginning in February 2010.
The news shouldn’t be entirely surprising for incoming associates at Chadbourne. The firm laid people off in March, and cut salaries in April.
And remember, last October, Chadbourne instituted a hiring freeze. At the time, we had a few questions for Chadbourne:
In light of this hiring freeze, what does that mean for students who interviewed with Chadbourne? Are they de-facto canceling their 2009 summer program? If so, it seems like an awful waste of resources to send recruiters around the country for jobs that are no longer available….
And, of course, we have no idea how this will affect 2008 summers associates. We assume that any of them who received and accepted offers for full time employment next fall still have those offers.
Note to self: never assume.
There seem to be two options that firms are following. After the jump, let’s look at the options and take a reader poll.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.