Summer Law School Hiring 2011 by LawCrossing


An elevated statistic due in part to legal temporary jobs and law school job programs that offer grants and other stipends for work.

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Summer Law School Hiring 2011
By Rebecca Neely

Several sources report differing outlooks on hiring of summer law associates.

According to a June 25th article at, the bleak            future capacity, according to hiring partner Cristina Rodriguez.
legal climate - one reported to be the worst in history - is         There are currently 27 summer associates, down from 67 in
likely to continue. The class of 2010 is expected to fare poorly,    2008, at the global firm’s largest office in Houston.
according to Jim Leipold, executive director of the National
Association for Law Placement (NALP). The employment for             ‘’It’s an inexact science...but we have just really tried to
the class of 2011 will likely be ‘very compromised,’ he was          calibrate what we’re doing to what we perceive our needs
quoted as saying.                                                    are,’’ Rodriguez said. She expects next year’s summer
                                                                     program to be about the same size.
‘’The Class of 2012 will be the first class for which we might
see some kind of uptick in employment,’’ Leipold said. ‘’I’m         But is there an upside to all this bad news? According to
not making a prediction that it will recover in 2012; I’m saying     Leipold, theoretically, since students in the class of 2012
it probably won’t recover much before then.’’                        will interview in August for programs next summer, more
                                                                     opportunities could be available.
A recent NALP study reported that the class of 2009 had an
88.3 percent employment rate, an elevated statistic due in           ‘’This was the most difficult year that I’ve seen in 20 years,’’
part to temporary jobs and school job programs that offer            said Paul Mahoney, dean of the University of Virginia law
grants and other stipends for work. The classes of 2010 and          school. ‘’Our students were successful given the challenges
2011 may see a lower rate because firms look to hire years in        that they faced, but they had to put much more effort in than
advance, Leipold said.                                               they would have had to in a given year.’’

According to Leipold, when law students interview for large          However, according to an August 10th, 2010 blog posting at
law firm summer programs in August, just before their      , Petal Modeste, Columbia Law School career dean was
second year of school, this is a make-or-break time. Often,          quoted as saying: “The market outlook appears to be better.
obtaining a summer position is a great way to land a job after       Based on what I’m hearing from firm partners, I get the sense
graduation.                                                          that they expect business in a year or two to be strong enough
                                                                     to keep new hires employed and productive.”
Those law school graduates without previous employment
with firms face an even tougher employment market, as                And, Modeste also believes that firms will be less apt this year
only 3 percent of firms in 2009 reported recruiting third-year       to defer the start dates of summer associates who are offered
students who had not been summer associates, down from 25            jobs. Any deferrals, she added in a statement, should push
percent in 2008, according to the NALP report.                       back start dates by only a few months.

The 2010 and 2011 classes had fewer summer opportunities,            According to an August 10th New York Law Journal article, a
because many law firms drastically scaled back or got rid of         number of New York’s law firms are expected to increase their
their programs entirely. This summer, nearly 25 percent of           summer hiring for 2011.
firms have canceled their programs, Leipold said.
                                                                     For example, Cravath is looking to hire about 70 to 80 summer
For example, at the Houston office of Baker Botts, a 750-            associates, up from just 22 summer associates this year.
member law firm with 13 locations worldwide, the summer              Skadden plans to hire 100 summer associates firmwide, up
program was cut by more than half to better fit the office’s         from 78 this year.

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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy had only16 summer                  ‘’The workload justifies it,’’ he said. ‘’We’re firing on all
associates in New York this year, compared to 60 in 2009. But      cylinders and want to get back to more of a normal intake
for 2011, Milbank is looking to boost that number to up to 50,     level.’’
according to hiring partner Jay Grushkin.


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