Wednesday, August 3, 2011
From the American Lawyer:
The latest version of The American Lawyer's Summer Hiring Survey shows that large law firms extended 33 percent fewer job offers to their summer associates last year than they did the year before--a drop partially explained by the fact that summer classes were down across the board.
Among the 79 firms that responded to the survey, 1,791 summer associates received offers in 2010, compared to the 2,679 who got offers in 2009. Fifty-six firms made fewer offers to summer associates last year than they had in 2009, 16 made more, and seven made the same number.
. . . .
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom reported the largest drop in the number of offers, going from 207 in 2009 to 71 in 2010, a 66 percent decline. Cravath, Swaine & Moore reported the largest percentage drop in offers, decreasing 81 percent from 118 in 2009 to 22 in 2010. At the same time, the two firms' offer rates didn't change much between the two years. Skadden's rate went from 92.8 percent in 2009 to 89.8 percent in 2010, while Cravath's went from 95.9 percent to 95.6 percent.
One explanation for the declines in the raw number of offers at those two firms--and many others--was that there were simply fewer people to offer jobs to. Skadden's summer associate pool went from 223 in 2009 to 79 in 2010; Cravath's went from 123 to 23. (Like many big firms, both Skadden and Cravath bumped the size of their summer classes up this year; overall the firms surveyed, on average, had slightly fewer summer associates this year than last. The Am Law Daily will publish a report about summer class sizes in the coming days.)
. . . .
Because most firms reduced their class sizes so significantly in 2010 from 2009 levels, the rate at which summer associates were offered jobs actually rose slightly last year, according to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). The percentage of summer associates snagging full-time offers last year jumped to 87.4 percent at the firms NALP surveyed, compared 69 percent the prior year. The rate was 89.9 percent in 2008, according to NALP.
"Law firms recruit so far out that they had recruited big summer classes before the brunt of the slow-down was felt, and they had larger summer classes coming through the pipeline than they could accommodate," says NALP executive director James Leipold.
That glut of candidates, coupled with a number of deferred associates who had been promised spots, resulted in the major dip in offer rates, Leipold says. Firms reacted to that trend, he adds, by bringing in smaller summer classes to have the ability to make offers to a higher percentage of young lawyers.
You can read more details here.