Start Dates

Shearman & Sterling logo.gifSo 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.

After the jump, we compare Shearman to itself.

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winston strawn.gifThe 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.

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(Plus other goings-on at the firm.)”

sidley.gifThe big news out of Sidley Austin today involves Brian Schroeder, a 2009 Harvard Law School graduate who recently turned himself in for setting fire to a chapel housing the remains of 9/11 victims. Earlier today, the firm told ATL it was rescinding Schroeder’s job offer.

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).

Check them out after the jump.

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(Plus another testimonial about Brian Schroeder.)”

Kaye Scholer LLP logo Above the Law legal blog.jpgKaye 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.

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Foley Lardner LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier 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 logo.JPGSquire, 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.

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Fenwick West logo.JPGAs 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.

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Katten logo.JPGThere’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.

Yay! With news like this, who can even notice the horrifying apocalyptic stupefying new unemployment numbers?
Earlier: Sidley D.C. Wants Some Incoming Associates to Start … Early!

Wildman Harrold logo.jpgWildman 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.

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Chadbourne solid logo.JPGThe 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.

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