Deferrals

Since this afternoon’s big Dewey & LeBoeuf development, namely, the defection of Morton Pierce and seven other partners to White & Case, there has been some additional news. It concerns the timing of Dewey’s possible shutdown, a subject that has been the subject of much speculation lately.

One rumor had the firm closing its doors as early as tomorrow. Another suggested a date closer to Memorial Day. The truth may lie somewhere in between: according to sources cited by Am Law Daily (reg. req.), “Dewey is poised to close by May 15 and possibly sooner.”

(Also at Am Law, a very handy Dewey Departure Tracker. It lists each defector’s name, practice area, departure date, new firm, and location. It’s a great resource.)

The May 15 date makes some sense. As reported by Thomson Reuters News & Insight, on Monday the firm received a two-week extension from lenders for renegotiating its $100 million credit line. Assuming the parties can’t reach a new agreement, which seems like a good assumption right now, the new deadline would fall on or about May 15, the shutdown date mentioned by Am Law.

Compared to other outlets, we’ve been focusing a lot on the human side of the Dewey story. We’ve talked about the partners, including the particular partners who might be blamed for Dewey’s demise. We’ve talked about the staff, bringing you a paralegal’s lament.

Tonight let’s consider the fate of would-be Dewey associates, both full-time and summer associates, who now find themselves left in the lurch….

As usual, UPDATES — including one relating to support staff — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have Career Advice for Incoming and Summer Associates?”

Here in New York, the theater community is gearing up for the Tony Award season. Which shows will snag coveted nominations for best musical and best play?

In the world of Biglaw, though, there’s no competing with the drama now unfolding at Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once elite and now rapidly imploding law firm. Thus far, the story of Dewey has been dynamic but depressing, more tragedy than comedy.

But might that change? Could the tale of D&L end happily, like a Shakespearean comedy — with a wedding?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have A Suitor? Plus Another Confirmed Partner Defection, and Discussion of Deferrals”

It’s time for your daily dose of Dewey & LeBoeuf news. There’s a lot to cover, including updates about incoming associates, overseas offices, and contingency planning.

Word on the street is that Dewey is deferring incoming associates to January 2013. We reached out to the firm for comment, and they haven’t gotten back to us yet. But it seems logical for the firm to defer associates to early 2013, given how the situation at D&L remains in flux. By next year, Dewey will have a better sense of its ultimate size and its long-term associate needs.

Of course, incoming associates at Dewey might want to make some backup plans. Which brings us to the other D&L news….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have Room For Incoming Associates? Or Overseas Offices?”


Some people in the class of 2010 will see this before they see a job.

Don’t look now, but in a few weeks, on-campus interviewing will get started on law school campuses across the country. That’s right — in about a month, law firms will start interviewing people they think they’ll have work for in the fall of 2013. I don’t know where the north pole will be in fall 2013, but law firms are supposed to know how many junior associates they’ll need more than two years from now?

Was this system designed by Nostradamus?

Under this employment system, there are winners and there are losers. Most of the people in the class of 2011 who have contacted us about their start dates have reported that they’ll be starting their Biglaw careers on time in the fall of 2011. That is good news. But even though we’ve moved far from the worst of the recession, there are still firms that are deferring their incoming classes.

In fact, at one firm, some members of the class of 2011 will be starting before members of the class of 2010…

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We’ve done a lot of coverage about deferral stipends, public interest stipends, and other direct payments to graduates who are not able to secure prime, private practice employment.

If you think about it, these programs have popped up with shocking speed. In 2007, there was no such thing as a “deferral stipend” from firms, and the public interest fellowship programs offered by schools were small and for grads who wanted to wait a little while before heading into the open arms of a private law firm. Now, these programs represent the last hope for grads who are unable to secure jobs.

With everybody trying to describe what these programs are, there’s been little time to analyze how these programs work. One aspect is particularly interesting to students considering some of these stipend options: how will the stipend be taxed.

Because each program is different, the tax situations differ wildly. So you really need to work with your career service/human resource people and figure out how your stipend will be taxed.

If you didn’t put in that work with regards to the Georgetown University Law Center post-grad public interest stipend, the taxes totally screwed up your budget…

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Sow your wild oats for a year -- and come to the firm when you're ready to work.

With apologies to Langston Hughes, we have to ask:

What happens to an associate deferred?
Does he dry up, like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore — and then run?

Run, run — away from Biglaw. That seems to be what at least some deferred associates are doing, as reported last week by the New York Times in an article about how they spent their deferral years — and how some of them aren’t returning to the well-feathered nests of private law firms when called back.

The Times interviewed two deferred associates who aren’t going back to their firms. Nathan Richardson, a 2009 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School who was deferred by Latham & Watkins, spent his year doing environmental law research at Resources for the Future — and plans to remain in public interest. Avi Singh, a 2009 graduate of Harvard Law School who was deferred by Quinn Emanuel, went off to the Santa Clara County public defender’s office in San Jose — and is staying there.

Due to deferrals, Latham and Quinn just lost the services of two bright young attorneys. And maybe, just maybe, this isn’t a bad thing — not just for these lawyers, but for their law firms….

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This was bound to happen at some point. There have been countless associates who were promised jobs at law firms. They stopped looking for other jobs in reliance on that job offer. Then during the recession they were deferred, or their offers were rescinded. They are the leading citizens of the Lost Generation.

Do they have any legal claims against their would-be employers?

Almost certainly not, but it looks like somebody is ready to try to find out. The ABA Journal reports:

A would-be associate has sued San Francisco law firm Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin for deferring and then rescinding her job offer.

A clean test case on the issue of offer rescission? Not quite. As with most things, there’s a racial angle…

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Shearman & Sterling is setting off some fireworks at the start of this Fourth of July weekend. It sent out a memo this morning to its deferred associates from 2009. (Remember them? They got $65,000 last year if they volunteered to go away until September 2010.)

The deferred associates expected a letter two months ago telling them about their practice groups and start dates, as well as $15,000 salary advance checks starting on June 15th. Those dates passed with no information or money. Today, the firm finally contacted them.

It has announced the start dates for these folks and they’re not in 2010. A Shearman tipster sent along the memo noting:

Here is the text from the just received memo that is f***ing me over… I am so pissed that I can’t really talk about it right now.

So what’s the deal?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shearman & Sterling Belatedly Sets Start Dates for Deferred Class of 2009″

Do you remember the scene in the Amityville Horror House movie where the toilet says to the family, “Get out”? That seems to be what firms are telling incoming associates when they defer first-years until 2012.

Today, we’ve got another firm that has decided to put some of its incoming associates on the long march towards nowhere in particular. Missouri Lawyers reports:

St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is among the firms that have pushed off start dates on new associates to 2012.

The firm’s St. Louis office made 14 total offers last fall to 2010 law school graduates, but told seven of them at the time that they wouldn’t be starting until January 2012, said managing partner Peter Van Cleve. The other seven were extended offers to start in January 2011.

Remember, Bryan Cave is still trying to absorb the members of the class of 2009 — at least the ones who didn’t already take the firm’s offer to split…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Incoming Bryan Cave Associates: Welcome to 2012.”

If your firm offered you a “voluntary” deferral option last year, they sure made a lot of promises. Chiefest among them was the understanding that the people who left voluntarily for a year would be able to come back to the firm and resume their Biglaw careers after the deferral.

Well, that bond is about to mature. We’ve already reported on Skadden trying to reabsorb the people who were out on Sidebar Plus. Now we’re fielding reports about Dewey & LeBoeuf trying to find space for all the people who took the DL Pursuits deferral last May. A tipster reports:

The DL Pursuits program will ends on June 1. Just this week, some number of “Pursuers” are being offered another deferral year or four months’ severance. But they are not welcome back to the firm at this time.

Dewey confirmed to Above the Law that some practice groups are slower than others and not everybody has a job waiting for them at this time. But they’re not revoking any offers…

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