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.
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….
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so it started making phone calls in which it either pressed students with offers for a fast decision or effectively rescinded the offer, urging the student to go elsewhere.
A rescinded offer is bad news, especially in an age when fewer students have tons of offers to choose from. But a rescinded offer of a summer associate position is better than a cold offer at the end of the summer, right?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….
‘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.
Getting no-offered is a bad thing. Even though (or perhaps because) summer associate classes are small, offer rates remainhigh. 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.”
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.”
Let’s say you got no-offered this summer. What should you do?
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?
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….
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….
Above the Law has launched a brand new eDiscovery Resource Center in partnership with Recommind. Stay on top of the ever-changing eDiscovery and predictive coding landscape with our practical tips, insightful white papers, and webinars.
The past few months have been a blur as I have traveled the country visiting law firms. With summer winding down (as well as ILTA14 now in the rearview mirror), it seemed like a good time to see what lessons could be distilled from firms that are having real success in discovery practice.
1. Focus on finding what matters
Despite all of the articles lamenting the rapid growth in data volumes, litigation is still won and lost with a handful of witnesses and a few dozen documents. Regarding this issue, the head of litigation for an AmLaw 50 firm shared with me that for him litigation was still about the binder of documents he was glad he had found and the binder of documents he wished he hadn’t found. Discovery solutions, he explained, that didn’t address those needs were missing the mark. Given the strength of this lesson, I incorporated it into my discussions with other lawyers over the past few months and found that it resonated with litigators, especially those who practice outside of the eDiscovery bubble (in other words 99% of the litigators I interact with on a routine basis).
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for Asia focused projects and client meetings for the next 4 weeks, through December 15. Feel free to reach out to him at Evan@Kinneyrecruiting.com if you would like to schedule a meeting, to discuss the market and your career. Starting in January, Evan will be mostly splitting time between New York and Hong Kong.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
The “New Normal” is no longer new. On Thursday, November 20th, from 6 to 9 p.m., join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer, and Joe Borstein of Pangea3 for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model.
Please sign up below to RSVP. We look forward to seeing you there.