Offers

She didn’t get an offer this summer…

Clients increasingly don’t want to pay for first-year and sometimes second-year associates. Because of that, firms hire less of them.

Kent Zimmermann, a law firm consultant at the Zeughauser Group, commenting on the hiring differences between Biglaw today and the days of yore. Since it’s a “buyer’s market for law firms,” summer associates need to be impressive to receive offers.

If you recall, back in the darkest days of the recession, we covered the topic of rescinded offers quite frequently. Now that the legal profession is in a slow recovery, it’s a rare occurrence.

But not today.

We’ve got news of a Biglaw firm that recently decided to axe half of its incoming associate class, just weeks before graduation. Lovely.

Which firm is making its would-be associates scramble for new jobs? Could it be yours?

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Social media is a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, it allows people to share news and easily keep in touch with friends and family. That’s good.

It also allows tools to broadcast their douchebaggery to an even larger audience at the speed of light. That’s bad.

And it allows someone else to create a fake profile and rip that tool anonymously. That’s very good for this site in particular. For instance, now we can debate and ask you to take a reader poll below….

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Last week, we wrote about a recruiting snafu involving Kasowitz Benson. The high-powered litigation firm had an unexpectedly high yield for its 2014 summer program, so it started making phone calls in which it either pressed students with offers for a fast decision or effectively rescinded the offer, urging the student to go elsewhere.

A rescinded offer is bad news, especially in an age when fewer students have tons of offers to choose from. But a rescinded offer of a summer associate position is better than a cold offer at the end of the summer, right?

After our story about the controversial Kasowitz calls went up, we heard from multiple former summer associates at Kasowitz with additional allegations of shady behavior — specifically, cold offers….

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‘Congratulations on your offer! Take your time deciding.’

The weather here in New York is turning nice and crisp; Sunday is the first day of fall. But because on-campus interviewing gets underway earlier and earlier, “fall recruiting” is almost over for many law students. Those who are lucky enough to be fielding multiple offers for 2014 summer associate positions are now deciding where to go.

But some students are still making up their minds. And one leading law firm wants them to decide faster — or else….

UPDATE (5:40 p.m.): We’ve added comment from the firm below.

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Getting no-offered isn’t the end of the world.

Getting no-offered is a bad thing. Even though (or perhaps because) summer associate classes are small, offer rates remain high. As Jay Edelson of Edelson LLC writes in this interesting call for reform, End the Summer Associate Sideshow, offers of full-time employment to summer associates are “virtually guaranteed, so long as they don’t do something to truly embarrass themselves or the firm.”[1]

So a no-offer is bad, but you can recover. Sonia Sotomayor got no-offered after summering at Paul Weiss, and her legal career turned out pretty well in the end. Her wonderful memoir is aptly titled My Beloved World (affiliate link), not “I Got No-Offered And Now I Live In A Van Down By The River.”[2]

Let’s say you got no-offered this summer. What should you do?

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I got an offer!

The summer of 2012 brought a great deal of worry for Biglaw’s summer associates. Would they receive offers of permanent employment after all of their hard work? (And by “hard work,” we of course mean completing work assignments amid multiple forays into the world of being wined and dined.) In fact, this year’s summers were so anxious about whether they’d get an offer that their average “worry level” was higher than it had been since the height of the recession.

But as it turns out, all of their worry was for naught, because nearly all firms indiscriminately doled out offers like they were going out of style. According to the American Lawyer’s Summer Hiring Survey, responding firms hired 15.5 percent more summer associates this year than they did in 2011. That said, while things seem to be looking up, that doesn’t mean that all firms handed out offers like candy.

When we last spoke about summer associate offer rates, we wanted to know which firms had low offer rates. Now, thanks to Am Law, we’ve got some dirt for you. Which firms fell below the 100 percent mark?

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With offer season well under way, some law students may be wondering how to tell the world that they’ve landed summer associate jobs without sounding like complete braggarts. These law students must have read a Miss Manners book or two, because thinking about the feelings of others is the polite thing to do.

Other law students just don’t care about trampling on the self-esteem of classmates. “Sorry about your tiny pink feelings, but I got an offer.” That was way harsh, Tai.

There is just one more category of law student: the law student who feels only slightly guilty bragging about a job offer, so he thinks up a creative way to broach the subject with peers. And one law student at a leading law school has got this method of breaking the news about offers on lock….

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Stephen Venuto

People came in wanting to work, which is a shift. Students’ primary goal three or four years ago was to ensure they had a terrific social experience. They short-changed themselves a little.

Stephen Venuto, head of on-campus recruiting for Biglaw firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, commenting on the new environment of summer associate programs during the legal recession.

This year, Orrick made offers of full-time employment to 47 of 52 summer associates. The firm’s 90 percent offer rate was at the lower end of the spectrum of the 17 national firms surveyed by Am Law.

In case you haven’t noticed, things have been quiet on the law firm front. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise: it’s August.

Summer associate programs are largely over (although we still want to hear about fun events and offer rates). Many associates and partners are taking vacation (especially if they have children they want to spend time with before school starts again).

On the litigation side, courts are slow because many judges are away. On the corporate side, some deals have been put on hold due to the gyrating stock market and economic uncertainty. We seem to be turning into Europe, where a good chunk of the population takes vacation for a good chunk of August.

But we still have pockets of law firm news to report, here and there. Today’s dispatch comes from Schiff Hardin, which earlier this month announced an associate pay raise….

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